Madagascar plague outbreak kills more than 30 people as aid agencies step up response

Aid organisations have stepped up their response to an outbreak of plague in Madagascar that has killed nearly three dozen people.

The Red Cross has mobilised 700 volunteers on the island while the World Health Organisation (WHO) said it had shipped 1.2 million doses of antibiotics.

Authorities have banned large gatherings to avoid more people becoming infected.

The WHO said on Friday that so far, 231 people have become infected and 33 people have died. Most infections were cases of pneumonic plague, the more deadly version of the disease that is passed from person to person.

Its medicines should be enough to treat 5,000 patients and protect 100,000 more from potential infection, the WHO said.

Red Cross officials said the situation had worsened because the pneumonic plague, which along with its bubonic form is endemic to the island, had spread to areas in which it is not typically found, including crowded cities. read more