1997 - Bubonic plague in Zambia
07 February 1997
Disease Outbreak Reported
As at 3 February 1997, 267 cases of bubonic plague had been reported in Namwala District in the Southern Province. Among these, 26 died (CFR 10%) and 25 patients were still under treatment. All reported deaths occurred before 26 January. The clinical diagnosis established by the South West Regional Office has been confirmed by a team of experts from the University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka. The strain of Yersinia pestis which has been isolated has been shown to be sensitive to tetracycline and streptomycin.
When the first reports of an unusual disease outbreak were received on 24 January, health authorities established treatment centres in the outbreak focus in Kantengwa and satellite centres in Makobo, Chilala and Kabulamwanda. Drugs, medical supplies and protective material have been dispatched to the affected area. All patient contacts are followed up and treated, infected households are disinfected and rodents and fleas destroyed. A team of health workers monitors the situation and intervenes when needed. Movements in and out of the area are also monitored.