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Biological Health Hazard – Fatal Bubonic Plague Outbreak: Congo DR


Bubonic Plague is also a Category A Bioterrorism agent. Category A Bioterrorism agents are high-priority agents posing a risk to national security, can be easily transmitted and disseminated, result in high mortality, have potential major public health impact, may cause public panic, or require special action for public health preparedness. — Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Published Date: 2021-05-22 21:13:12
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Plague – Congo DR (02): (IT) fatal
Archive Number: 20210522.8376282

Date: Sat 22 May 2021
Source: Actualite [in French, trans. MO, edited]

From 23 Apr 2021 to 8 May 2021, Ituri province recorded 15 cases of plague, including 11 deaths. It was Dr. Louis Tshulo, head of the provincial health division (DPS), in this province who announced it this Friday [21 May 2021] during a press conference. According to the division’s chief doctor, it is the bubonic plague, which killed 5 members of the same family among the cases of death.

“The victims showed symptoms of headache, fever, cough, and vomiting blood. The report showed 15 cases including 11 deaths so far. The 1st case was that of a lady who had died in the Fataki health zone in the Bukachele health zone. A week later, on 30 Apr 2021, a 30-year-old man also died after showing the same symptoms. On 8 May 2021, there was another man who died. We were alerted when there were already 5 deaths in this health area in the same family. Afterwards, there were 2 people who had left for the burial place in Bukachele who, on their return, became ill and died in Bule,” informed Dr Tshulo.

The head of the Ituri DPS reassured that Fataki’s intervention teams are continuing to investigate. Their investigations notified on 19 May [2021] 2 deaths in Bukachele and 2 other deaths in Bule, including a traditional practitioner who treated the sick. Four other suspects with the same symptoms are currently being treated in health facilities, including 2 in Bule and 2 others in Bukachele.

The population of the health zone of Fataki and Djugu is called upon to wear masks on a regular basis, to strictly respect physical distancing, to avoid the handling of corpses, and to alert on all suspected cases, but also to refrain from eating rat meat at this time of the epidemic.

Bubonic plague has been reported since 2020 in Ituri, with 461 cases including 31 deaths reported in 8 health zones.

Communicated by:
Mahmoud Orabi

[Most cases are due to bubonic plague following the bite of an infected rodent flea, causing a swollen and very tender lymph gland. The swollen gland is called a bubo. Bubonic plague should be suspected when a person develops a swollen gland, fever, chills, headache, and extreme exhaustion and has a history of possible exposure to infected rodents, rabbits, or fleas. A person usually becomes ill with bubonic plague 2-6 days after being bitten.

When bubonic plague is left untreated, plague bacteria invade the bloodstream. The bacteremia can also occur as an initial event. As the plague bacteria multiply in the bloodstream, they spread rapidly throughout the body and cause a severe and often fatal condition. Infection of the lungs with the plague bacterium causes the pneumonic form of plague, a severe respiratory illness. The infected person may experience high fever, chills, cough, and breathing difficulty and may expel bloody sputum. If plague patients are not given specific antibiotic therapy, the disease can progress rapidly to death. – Mod.LL

HealthMap/ProMED map: Ituri, Democratic Republic of the Congo:]

See Also

Plague – Madagascar: bubonic 20210320.8250540
Plague – Congo DR: (IT) fatal 20210225.8211886

Plague – Congo DR (12): (IT) 20201231.8061711
Plague – Congo DR (11): (IT) 20201108.7926602
Plague – Congo DR (10): (IT) 20201022.7882267
Plague – Congo DR (09): (IT) fatal 20200903.7743912
Plague – Congo DR (08): (IT) human, rodent 20200818.7688534
Plague – Congo DR (07): (IT) clusters, fatal, WHO 20200725.7606707
Plague – Congo DR (06): (IT) bubonic, clusters, fatal 20200707.7546991
Plague – Congo DR (05): (IT) bubonic, septicemic, fatal 20200626.7513771
Plague – Congo DR (04): (IT) bubonic, septicemic, fatal 20200617.7480784
Plague – Congo DR (03): bubonic, fatal 20200516.7343777
Plague – Uganda: (ZO) ex Congo DR, 2019 20200324.7137313
Plague – Congo DR (02): (IT) bubonic, pneumonic, fatal 20200226.7028683
Plague – Congo DR: (IT) pneumonic, fatal, susp, RFI 20200225.70265802019

Plague – Congo DR (03): (IT) Guinea pig, comments 20191018.6734330
Plague – Congo DR (02): (IT) fatal 20191016.6731137
Plague – Congo DR: (IT) fatal, human, rodent 20191006.6710185

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ProMED-mail is a program of the International Society for Infectious Diseases

Related Information

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