Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Bubonic plague in Kyrgyzstan

Whistleblower (@MediterrNewsNet) had tweeted the link to an article of Al Jazeera “Kyrgyzstan boy dies of bubonic plague” (Link: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/asia/2013/08/201382744916818740.html).
Yersinia pestis is a bacterium, which cause bubonic plague. We might think of the plague during the Middle Ages, which swept across Europe killing a third of the population. Do we have to expect this in Kyrgyzstan? No, not at all. Yersinia pestis is endemic in rodents and other mammals in different parts of the world. Fleas might be a vector to transmit the disease to humans. The disease might be hard to treat, but one can treat it. According to Harrison’s Principle’s of Internal Medicine (the medical bible of internists, which I have always in the reach of my arms here at my computer) one treats the infection with gentamycin or streptomycin, tetracycline or chloramphenicol are other antibiotics, which could work. The earlier, antibiotics are started the better.

In the article of Al Jazeera we learn that contact persons are isolated and treated with antibiotics. If you have business in Kyrgyzstan, this news shouldn’t make you call off you travels. The situation is under control and there’s no reason to panic. But let’s not forget that a teenager has died and let our condolences be with the mourning relatives.

Link to article on Yersinia pestis on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yersinia_pestis

The Guardian: "A Russian public health official said cases of bubonic plague were registered in Kazakhstan every year, and the disease existed naturally in parts of Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Russia, Izvestiya reported." http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/27/bubonic-plague-outbreak-feared-central-asia 
The Independent: "Black death returns: ..." No, it doesn't! Please check above. The black death was possible only in pre antibiotic times, not nowadays! http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/black-death-returns-herder-dies-of-bubonic-plague-in-kyrgyzstan-after-being-bitten-by-infected-flea-8785775.html 
There is no basic for panicmongering!

AFP published on Yahoo more details: three people, who had direct contact with the dead teenager showed symptoms. 800 people in the small town of Bishkek have been screened. 
The Mail has a picture of a blood smear, where you can see Yersinia pestis, in the middle of the picture you see two small bacteria in a shape resembling an eight, near one of larger red blood cells. The bacteria look darker.
Link: http://news.yahoo.com/three-more-sick-kyrgyzstan-battles-bubonic-plague-135609415.html  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2403099/Kyrgyzstan-lock-boy-15-dies-bubonic-plague.html

The quarantine has been lifted.

Now, there's another outbreak in another part of the world: Madagascar! "Bubonic plague kills 20 in Madagascar village": "Twenty people have died following a deadly outbreak of the bubonic plague, medical experts on the island of Madagascar have confirmed." ... "According to the ICRC, an average of 500 cases have been recorded on the island every year since 2009. Africa is now believed to account for more than nine out of ten bubonic plague cases worldwide." Read the article of THE INDEPENDENT here:


There’s a good article on Medscape on “Epidemiologic Features of Four Successive Annual Outbreaks of Bubonic Plague in Mahajanga, Madagascar”, published in 2002, but as we see still of interest. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/432069_1 
Let's hope that the outbreak is going to be under control like in Kyrgyzstan earlier this year.

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