Plague: Black Death could rip through Madagascar as families REFUSE to part with bodies

Saturday, November 11, 2017
By Paul Martin

THE plague risks spreading through Madagascar as relatives of black death victims are refusing to part with their bodies.

Sat, Nov 11, 2017

Police are having to step in to seize the bodies as the death toll hits 143.

Experts said the outbreak is the worst the country has seen in more than 50 years.

Plague, also known as the Black Death, is an annual occurrence on the island nation, but this year’s breakout is especially severe because it has spread into major towns and cities.

Nearly 2,000 people have been infected so far, and officials have been forced to go to extreme lengths in their fight to contain the spread.

Special measures being used to prevent infection include sending health workers equipped with anti-bacterial chemicals to treat bodies of suspected plague victims.

The remains are then placed in a sealed body bag and buried in a common grave, a practice which goes against Madagascan culture.

And health workers are now reporting police are seizing the remains of victims from their families because their loved ones are unsure about what to do with the body.

Charlotte Ndiaye, a World Health Organisation (WHO) worker helping to combat the epidemic, told South Africa’s Mail & Guardian: “The problem you have now among communities in Madagascar is that most families don’t want to give back the body.

“The police come to take the body. This is terrible. It is really terrible.”

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