U.S. Embassy Antananarivo alerts U.S. citizens to a plague outbreak which occurs each year in Madagascar. To date, there have been confirmed cases and deaths of both bubonic and pulmonary (also known as pneumonic) plague in urban areas, including Antananarivo and Toamasina.
Bubonic plague is a bacterial disease that is initially spread by bites from infected fleas carried most commonly by rats. Pneumonic plague, on the other hand, infects the respiratory system and subsequently spreads quickly and easily through droplets from coughing. If the bacteria enters the blood, it is known as septicemic plague.
U.S. citizens visiting Madagascar are urged to monitor public health announcements from the Ministry of Public Health and the World Health Organization, and to follow public health guidelines and recommendations. Plague can be successfully treated with antibiotics, but it is crucial to seek medical treatment immediately, if you experience any plague signs or symptoms. You should not take antibiotics if you are not experiencing any plague symptoms.
For information on symptoms and treatment please go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) plague factsheet (English) on the CDC plague information page.
For further information about Madagascar:
- See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Madagascar Country Specific Information.
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Contact the U.S. Embassy in Madagascar, located at Lot 207 A Point Liberty
Andranoro-Antehiroka, Antananarivo, Madagascar, at  (20) 234-8000, (available 24-hours). U.S. citizen in need of urgent assistance call 034-493-2854.
- Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).