Although plague outbreaks are not unexpected in Madagascar, the recent outbreak of pneumonic plague – the deadliest form – has been described as a concern. According to NaTHNaC a total of 1309 cases have been reported, 93 of which have resulted in death.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) are not advising against travel to Madagascar and the surrounding areas, however holidaymakers should take care and consult their doctor before travelling as the current risk of tourists contracting the plague is low to moderate.
It is also worth bearing in mind, the hospital in Madagascar’s Capital – Antananarivo – can only carry out routine operations, if you need any further treatment or complex surgery then you will need to be taken to Mauritius, South Africa and La Reunion. The cost of medical treatment and repatriation abroad can be extortionate, therefore if you are planning to travel to Madagascar in the near future be sure to take out travel insurance that has a suitable cover limit for medical expenses.
As there is no vaccination against the plague, it is recommended holidaymakers use a DEET based insect repellent, avoid contact with ill or dead animals, stay away from crowded areas and avoid close contact with anyone who is suspected of having or diagnosed with the plague.