Plague : 42 people have died in Madagascar

Health 10 October, 2017

Ceremony of famadihana (Hery Zo Rakotondramanana/Flickr)

Published the 09.10.2017 to 12: 30 pm


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On 5 October, the world health Organization (WHO) announced the delivery of 1.2 million doses of antibiotics in Madagascar, designed to treat the sick and at-risk persons. The plague had killed 33 people.

On 8 October, the ministry of Health of madagascar has announced a new balance. The epidemic is growing : 42 people have now died of the pneumonic plague. In the capital, Antananarivo, 142 people have been infected and 16 have died.

Two universities closed

The outbreak is not slowing down, despite the measures taken by the government. On 30 September, in a televised speech, the prime minister Olivier Mahafaly Solonandrasana announced the suspension, in the capital, ” all meetings or demonstrations “.

The authorities have also ordered the closing of two universities in Antananarivo, and Toamasina, in the east of the island. The buildings, located in two regions particularly affected will be disinfected, and should re-open during the week.

The famadihana accused

The funeral rites are also a problem. Traditionally, the natives bury their dead in vaults family. The families of the victims of the plague insist, therefore, to recover their bodies, denying that they are buried in mass graves. Faced with the refusal of health authorities, some go so far as to exhume the illegally.

These bodies also represent a risk in the longer term. A rite of madagascar, famadihana, is to exhume the dead in a ceremony that unites the family of the deceased, several months or years after his death. The body is wrapped in a new shroud, and is being manipulated.

However, the bacterium continues to live in the tomb, consider that the malagasy doctors, who warn against the risk of contamination during these ceremonies. They recommend that sick people are buried in tombs sealed. Two children have already been diagnosed of pneumonic plague after having attended famadihanas.