Plague Continues in Madagascar

According to today’s update at Outbreak News Today, the number of those who’ve contracted the disease now approaches 2,000 with nearly 150 dead. Most of the cases are pneumonic plague, which affects the lungs and can be rapidly and efficiently spread through coughing.

A major factor for transmission centers on a ritual performed for dead ancestors within some Madagascar tribes, where the dead are exhumed and re-dressed. These corpses are then used in a ‘dancing’ ceremony, which is designed to permit the ancestor access to the realm of the dead.

World Health Organization officials are pleading with tribal leaders to put an end to this practice, as it provides opportunity for spreading the plague bacterium.