Madagascar's media have surprisingly little to say about plague today, but I found a long IRIN report on allAfrica.com: Plague in Madagascar (Page 1 of 3). Excerpt:
The bubonic plague season arrived in Madagascar earlier than usual in 2013, and with it an apparently greater prevalence of a more deadly strain of the disease.
Between September and December the health ministry reported 42 known deaths and 84 cases from the illness in four of the country's 112 districts.
The cases have been recorded at various geographical locations: Mandritsara in the north, Soanierana Ivongo in the northwest, Ikongo in the southwest, and Tsiroanomandidy in the central highlands.
Popularly known as the Black Death in reference to the colour of the buboes - infected lymph nodes - that are characteristic of the disease, plague is caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis and has been around for millennia. It is carried by infected fleas that transmit the bacteria when they bite humans.
The fleas on rats and other rodents are the primary vector, although other animals and insects can also transport the bacteria.
Dr Voahangy Ravaoalimalala, vice-director of the Malagasy Institut Pasteur, which performs pathogen tests for the health ministry in Antananarivo, told IRIN: "Bubonic plague can be treated easily with antibiotics, and it takes longer to develop, but this time some cases of pneumonic plague have also been identified. This form of plague is harder to treat, as it can kill people within three days."
Most cases of the three common plague strains are bubonic. Between two and eight days after infection the patient develops fever and chills, as well as the swelling of lymph nodes - the buboes - to which the bacteria move and where they multiply.
The second is septicaemic plague, with a fatality rate of 50 percent - higher than bubonic - and the third is pneumonic plague, which is fatal in all cases unless the patient is given antibiotics as soon as the symptoms appear.
The health ministry notes that between 300 and 600 cases of bubonic plague occur annually in Madagascar, usually between October and March.
Despite some anxiety in the capital, Antananarivo, and local media reports that there was a suspected case of plague in Manjakandriana, 20km from the densely populated city, the cases and fatalities have occurred in fairly isolated areas.