Madagascar

Antananarivo (AFP) A plague outbreak that has claimed 128 lives in Madagascar has slowed down, health authorities on the island nation said Tuesday, citing a decline in the numbers of the infected and dying. “There is an improvement in the fight against the spread of the plague, which means that there are fewer patients in hospitals,” Dr. Manitra Rakotoarivony, Madagascar’s director of health promotion, told local radio. “There are almost no more deaths due to the plague… in recent days,” he added. The highly contagious plague has caused alarm acrossRead More
Antananarivo (AFP) In Madagascar, ceremonies in which families exhume the remains of dead relatives, rewrap them in fresh cloth and dance with the corpses are a sacred ritual. But an outbreak of plague sweeping the Indian Ocean island nation has prompted warnings that the macabre spectacle, known as the turning of the bones or body turning, presents a serious risk of contamination. On a recent baking hot Saturday in Ambohijafy, a village outside the capital Antananarivo, a “turning” procession snaked through the streets in a fevered carnival atmosphere bound forRead More
Antananarivo (AFP) An outbreak of highly contagious plague has claimed 74 lives in Madagascar over the past two months with the capital particularly affected, according to a new official toll published Tuesday. A total of 805 cases have been reported on the poor Indian Ocean island nation since August, the health ministry said in a statement. Madagascar has suffered plague outbreaks almost every year since 1980 — typically between September and April — and are often sparked by rats fleeing forest fires. The current outbreak is unusual as it hasRead More
Antananarivo (AFP) The little footbridge near Justin Rakatoarivony’s home is submerged in a murky green liquid the texture of sewage. But he has no choice but to cross it every day on his way to work in Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar. The filthy conditions in his area, the southern Ampefiloha district, make him worry that he will be the next victim of the plague outbreak sweeping the country. His fear is far from unfounded: the disease has already killed 25 people in Antananarivo since August, according to the healthRead More
Antananarivo (AFP) Authorities in Madagascar Friday announced a ban on prison visits to prevent the spread of a plague epidemic that has killed 36 people in the Indian Ocean island. “In order to protect prisoners from the plague that is spreading outside the prison, we have decided to suspend family visits,” prisons administrator Arsen Ralisaona told AFP. The ban covers seven jails in the country’s two worst affected regions. The risk of contamination is high in overcrowded prisons, where conditions are usually unhygienic. The outbreak includes bubonic plague, which isRead More
Antananarivo (AFP) Crowds of fearful residents flock to their local pharmacies before dawn, desperate to buy masks and antibiotics to stave off a plague outbreak sweeping Madagascar. In just the past few days, the highly infectious disease has wreaked havoc in the poor Indian Ocean island nation, claiming six lives in the capital city Antananarivo and causing widespread panic. Like many of his neighbours, 50-year-old Johannes Herinjatovo quickly became overwhelmed by fear as news of the outbreak spread. He too joined the long lines forming outside the capital’s chemists. “I’dRead More
Antananarivo (AFP) The World Health Organisation said Sunday it was boosting its response to a plague outbreak in Madagascar that has killed 24 people, as the government banned public meetings to reduce infections. In a televised address Saturday, Prime Minister Olivier Mahafaly Solonandrasana said no public meetings or demonstrations would be allowed in the capital Antananarivo, which has seen six deaths in recent days. “At airports and bus stations, measures will be taken for passengers to avoid panic and to control the disease,” he added after an emergency meeting withRead More
Antananarivo (AFP) An outbreak of plague in Madagascar has killed 19 people and may have infected 85 others in just two months, the Indian Ocean island nation’s health minister said Thursday. Plague, a highly infectious disease carried by small mammals like rats, killed millions of people across the world in the past but has been largely wiped out. “We have recorded 104 suspected cases of plague across Madagascar of which 19 have died,” Health Minister Mamy Lalatiana Andriamanarivo told journalists. “This year the plague season has started quite early andRead More
Sava Region (Madagascar) (AFP) Hit by rampant speculation and a collapse in production following cyclone Enawo, the price of vanilla — Madagascar’s largest export — has surged in recent months. Ice cream, aromatherapy, perfume and haute cuisine: all use the spice sourced from the Indian Ocean island which accounts for about 80 percent of global production. The sudden cash bonanza has threatened to fuel crime and slash quality. On the single paved road in Ampanefena, a rural community in the northeast of Madagascar, youths pass the time doing wheelies onRead More
Antananarivo (AFP) At least 34 people died when a bus carrying young Christian worshippers plunged down a steep ravine in central Madagascar, police and hospital officials said Tuesday. Police said 12 badly burned bodies were counted at the site, 70 kilometres (45 miles) north of the capital Antananarivo. Hospitals said that 22 other deaths had been confirmed after the late-night crash. “The bus struggled to climb a road on a hill and fell down a ravine about 20 metres deep,” police spokesman Herilalatiana Andrianarisaona told AFP. “It caught fire afterRead More