Saturday, November 4, 2017

PLAGUE CASES MULTIPLY AS AFRICANS IN MADAGASCAR DIG UP DEAD, DANCE WITH THEM BEFORE RE-BURYING THEM



The following article appeared in the Sun on November 1st

WORLD health officials say rainy season poses a big threat to containing the spread of the disease. At least 128 people have been killed and more than 1,300 infected by the deadlier pneumonic strain of the Medieval disease.

By Danny Collins

The Sun yesterday reported how the outbreak has been fuelled by performing the ancient practice of Famadihana - which sees locals dig up deceased relatives and dance with them before they are re-buried.

It is feared the ceremony has helped spread an outbreak of pneumonic plague that has left more than 120 dead on the African island.

The country's health chief Willy Randriamarotia said: "If a person dies of pneumonic plague and is then interred in a tomb that is subsequently opened for a Famadihana, the bacteria can still be transmitted and contaminate whoever handles the body."

The tradition has been banned since the outbreak began, but it is feared ceremonies have taken place regardless.

Some locals are openly dismissing the advice.
Madagascans have been told to stop the traditional practice of Famadihana - which sees locals dig up deceased relatives and dance with them before they are re-buried.


It is feared the ceremony has helped spread an outbreak of pneumonic plague that has left more than 120 dead on the African island.
The country's health chief Willy Randriamarotia said: 'If a person dies of pneumonic plague and is then interred in a tomb that is subsequently opened for a Famadihana, the bacteria can still be transmitted and contaminate whoever handles the body.'

One Madagascan said: "I have participated in at least 15 Famadihana ceremonies and I've never caught the plague.

The latest warning came as British aid workers said the epidemic will get worse before it gets better.

Olivier Le Guillou of Action Against Hunger said: "The epidemic is ahead of us, we have not yet reached the peak." 
As many as 50 aid workers are believed to have been among the 1,200 people infected with the more dangerous airborne pneumonic strain of the disease.

The Sun revealed yesterday how warnings have been issued for NINE countries surrounding Madagascar amid fears the disease could spread via sea trade and flight routes.

The disease notoriously wiped out one third of Europe's population in the 13th and 14th centuries in one of the most devastating pandemics in human history known as the Black Death.

Dr Ashok Chopra, a professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Texas, told The Sun Online the crisis in Madagascar had yet to peak.

The tradition has been banned since the outbreak began, but it is feared ceremonies have taken place regardless.



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