SA prepared and ready for Madagascan pneumonic plague

Deputy director at National Institute For Communicable Diseases, Prof John Frean says South Africa is on high alert and preparations had been made for the possibility of visitors arriving in the country potentially carrying the pneumonic plague that has hit Madagascar.

The southeast African island has been hit by an outbreak of pneumonic plague that has killed at least 42 people and infected 343 more since August.

In its early stages, it represents as fever. The key is rapid development of a serious infection, that's what one hasve to be on the lookout for.

Prof John Frean, Deputy director at National Institute For Communicable Diseases

I understand we do not have direct contact with Madagascar by airway... but of course port health will be aware of that and we have made preparations to identify those people.

Prof John Frean, Deputy director at National Institute For Communicable Diseases

If they are ill we will admit them and assess them and if they are not ill we will have to monitor them for a period after arrival.

Prof John Frean, Deputy director at National Institute For Communicable Diseases

According to Prof Frean, this pneumonic plague is a treatable disease, if it is identified and treated in time the patients do well.

To hear the rest of the conversation, listen below:

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