Resurgent plague kills dozens in DRC



from JEAN KASSONGO in Kinshasa, DRC
KINSHASA, (CAJ News) THERE is increasing concern about the impact of a resurgence of Bubonic plague on children in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

It has been making a comeback for the first time in more than a decade.

Figures released for the three health zones of Biringi, Rethy and Aru – where United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) focused its research – show that there were 490 plague cases between 2020 and 2021, with 20 fatalities.

The figures show that over the same period there were 578 cases and 44 plague-related deaths throughout the entire Ituri province.

“There are grave consequences for children because they are more exposed to the risk factors of plague,” said UNICEF Social Sciences Analytics Cell (CASS) Field Supervisor Izzy Scott Moncrieff.

Plague outbreaks are often blamed on poor sanitation and hygiene practices, which attract rats carrying fleas to villages in search of food, infecting people in their homes.

The plague is mostly transmitted in rural areas by fleas carried by wild rats.

The rodents come into villages looking for food, allowing the fleas to infect domestic animals and livestock before the disease is eventually passed on to humans through flea bites.

Plagues are as hitting poorer families especially harder.

Many are also vulnerable to diseases such as malaria.

The broader impacts of COVID-19, which have left families poorer and less capable of meeting basic household needs, are worsening issues.

Limited plague testing capacity is restricting the ability of doctors to provide laboratory diagnosis.

– CAJ News








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