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Madagascar plague's spread 'highly challenging to control'

The number of plague cases in Madagascar has almost doubled over the last five days and medical experts project the situation will worsen, with 1,000 cases expected every month if funds are not rapidly provided, the UN has said.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters on Thursday that only 26% of the 9.5 million US dollars needed to combat the outbreak of the often deadly disease has been received.

Mr Dujarric says UN humanitarian officials in the Indian Ocean island nation reported 1,032 cases as of Wednesday, 67% of which were pneumonic plague.

He said that "is more serious than the bubonic plague and highly challenging to control".

So far, he says, 89 deaths have been counted, including 13 on Tuesday.

Mr Dujarric said UN officials have strengthened systems to identify contacts of victims.


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