Bubonic plague putting young lives at risk in DR Congo: UNICEF

After so many difficulties like displacement, poverty, unemployment, and conflict, DRC now faces one more issue. The return of centuries-old illness has devasted the DRC once again by its terror, the Bubonic plague. 

According to the ongoing situation and the research, it has come into the reflection that this plague is currently attacking children.  

Also Read: EU-funded health and nutrition collaboration to support many conflicting parts of DR Congo

Ominous consequences for children 

The research was conducted on three major health zones present in Ituri. And at that place, more than 490 cases of Bubonic Plague are recorded, whereas 20 fatalities have happened between 2020-2021.  

And in the same province, more than 578 cases and 44 deaths are recorded in the same period. 

It is bizarre to get the news of reoccurring cases of the Bubonic plague after more than 15 years. Also, getting the information of this plague from those regions where very few were previously. 

And children are most exposed to this plague, so safety for them should be prominent. 

Bubonic plague, easily treatable with antibiotics, has reappeared in eastern DR Congo.

— UNICEF (@UNICEF) August 24, 2021

Poor Sanitation May Be a factor for Bubonic Plague

Bubonic plague, also recognized as the black death, is a hazardous disease originating from Yersinia pestis bacteria found in mammals and fleas. The symptoms of this disease are painful swollen lymph nodes knowns as buboes. 

Poor sanitation and unhygienic are the prominent reasons for the outbreak of such diseases. Such causes invite the rats which carry those fleas in search of food that later on infect people. 

The disease is dangerous, yet it is treatable with the help of antibiotics. 

The continued confirmed cases of Bubonic plague are in Peru, Madagascar, and Ituri worldwide.  

The current outbreak of Bubonic plague differs from the previous pneumonic form of plague, which was highly infectious. This plague used to be transferred from person to person via air, and it was found in the area previously free from diseases. 

Poor families are in danger of Bubonic Plague

Poor families can come into the grip of this plague cause of its spreading in rural areas via wild rats. 

A 40-year lady from one of the three health regions under UNICEF study lives in the mud house made up of thatched roof in Aru. Her daughter, who is two years old us suffering from Bubonic Plague. She took her to the hospital as soon as possible when she notices the swollen lymph nodes on her neck. 

Doctors have treated her with some pills, but evidently, her whole family got infected from the disease. 

She’s unable to eat anything, having a very high fever, and her gums are also blood red. 

According to the lady, she previously noticed many rats in her house, and she also borrowed a cat from one of her friends to kill those rats. 

The significant loss which this plague is causing is making them poorer. People have to look after their admitted child, for which they are unable to go on the field to work. 

Helping Hands for affected communities 

These plagues are easily treatable with any available antibiotics in Ituri health centers. But what UNICEF should do is to seek people to help them. 

According to a recent report, the communities from those three health regions are aware of the increasing plague risks. Still, factors like poverty, displacement, and unemployment have prevented them from taking action and protecting themselves from this. They are risking their and their children’s lives all over this. 

But many other factors such as no beds, unsafe funerals, improper waste disposal, medics are responsible for such scenarios. 

UNICEF is coming forward by offering pest control and proper construction of the houses to prevent dangerous insects. Agencies are also working to make beds for the children from the local products. 

And the people need to separate their food from the place where they live and sleep to a better place to avoid infection. 

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