Tags: madagascar | bubonic | plague | prisons

Bubonic Plague Poses Threat in Madagascar Prisons

By    |   Thursday, 10 Oct 2013 09:17 AM

Experts warn that Madagascar faces a bubonic plague epidemic unless it slows the spread of the disease, the BBC reported Thursday.
 
The number of cases in the island nation of 22 million increases each October with hot, humid weather attracting fleas, which transmit the disease — a bacterial infection — from rats to people.
 
The BBC reported that last year that Madagascar had 256 plague cases and 60 deaths — the highest number in the world.
 
According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, 3,000 inmates at Antanimora prison (located in Antananarivo, the country’s capital), live with a huge rat population and are at greatest risk from the disease.
 
The rodents transport infected fleas through bedding, clothing, and food. ICRC official Evaristo Oliviera said this could affect inmates, staff, and others who come into contact with them.
 
"A prison is not a sealed place. First of all the staff themselves who work in the prison are at risk, and they go home at the end of the day, already perhaps being a vector [carrier] of the disease," he told the BBC.
 
If detected early, the disease can be treated with antibiotics, But a lack of facilities and public shame have complicated efforts to halt the spread of bubonic plague to outlying parts of Madagascar.
 
Experts say that Africa — especially Madagascar and the Democratic Republic of Congo — accounts for more than 90 percent of cases worldwide.
 
Bubonic plague (also known as the “Black Death”) killed an estimated 25 million people in Europe during the 1340s, according to National Geographic.
 
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, bubonic plague is not spread from person to person.
 
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Experts warn that Madagascar faces a bubonic plague epidemic unless it slows the spread of the disease, the BBC reported Thursday.
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Thursday, 10 Oct 2013 09:17 AM
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