Antananarivo - At least 21 people died this week in northern Madagascar after contracting pneumonic plague, the health ministry said on Wednesday.
"We have counted 21 deaths in the district of Mandritsara so far, but are still waiting for further information from other areas," Health Ministry official Herlyne Ramihantaniarivo told dpa.
Since September, a total of 36 people on the island have died due to the infectious disease.
The high number of deaths in northern Mandritsara was caused by late detection of the disease and inadequate treatment, the ministry said.
"The problem in Mandritsara is that the people there first resorted to traditional medicine," said Ramihantaniarivo. Tropical, poverty-stricken Madagascar regularly suffers from plagues, which are mostly are transmitted to humans by fleas or rats.