UN steps up aid to plague-hit Madagascar after 21 deaths

BERLIN — The U.N. health agency says it is stepping up its response to an outbreak of plague in Madagascar that has claimed 21 lives so far.

The World Health Organization said Sunday that Malagasy authorities have confirmed a basketball coach visiting the island from the Seychelles for a sports event died from the disease Wednesday. It says authorities are trying to trace people he may have come into contact with to administer antibiotics against pneumonic plague.

WHO says it is deploying further staff and supplies amid concerned the disease could spread further because cases have already been reported in several cities.

So far at least 114 people have been infected with the plague since the outbreak was identified in late August. Both pneumonic and bubonic plague are endemic on the island.

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