UAE residents have been warned to avoid travel to Madagascar following a large outbreak of what is believed to be pneumonic plague.
The Ministry of Health issued the alert on Wednesday evening after more than 70 people were reported dead.
The ministry is calling on anyone who must travel to visit the Ministry’s Traveller Health Clinics and health authorities throughout the country to learn more about the latest developments in Madagascar, for medical advice and vaccines.
Dr Fatima Al Attar, vice president of the National Committee for International Health Regulations and the Control of Pandemics, said the ministry will soon issue a circular for health workers covering essential information on the pulmonary disease, including standard definition of cases, diagnosis, isolation procedures, prevention of infection and treatment, as a precaution.
The World Health Organisation said the outbreak "carries a moderate risk of spread to neighbouring Indian Ocean islands". Air Seychelles flights to-from Madagascar were stopped from 8 October to reduce likelihood of further importation of cases. Seychelles authorities reported one case on October 10.
A total of 805 cases have been reported since August, the Madagascan health ministry said in a statement carried news agency AFP on Wednesday.
Passengers at Antananarivo's transport hubs are subject to medical inspections, infected areas have been fumigated to kill fleas, public gatherings are banned, and schools and universities have been shut to combat the outbreak.