Plague in North Africa

This item appears on page 18 of the September 2009 issue.

WHO has confirmed several cases of bubonic plague in Tobruk, Libya, with one death. Although not uncommon in parts of Asia and Southern and Eastern Africa, this is the first outbreak in two decades in Northern Africa. Health officials are on alert in Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt.

The disease does not pass from human to human but is carried by fleas. Using flea repellants, avoiding flea-infected hosts and using good sanitation are recommended for prevention.