Plague in Madagascar

by sarah_P on October 24, 2017 - 12:41pm

Have you ever stopped to cogitate about the reality in other countries? More specifically, have you ever thought of how some people are dealing with unfamiliar diseases to our everyday because of their poverty and lack of hygiene in their environment? While doing some researches on health issues worldwide, I stumbled on a couple of article that caught my attention. What I thought as a not existing disease in our century, the plague, is actually a daily fight for many people in Madagascar!  

“The country of Madagascar has had 162 reported cases of plague and 30 deaths since last August”, said Annie Burns-Pieper on October 5, 2017  at 11:40AM. She is an investigative journalist and producer in Antananarivo,Madagascar. The plague is spreading across Madagascar very fast,a country that already has one of the highest number of cases of disease in the world (Burns-Pieper, 2017).

For example Elisah Raharimalala, a woman who lives in Antananarivo and her daughter, are obligated to wear face masks to protect themselves from catching the plague which is originally a disease that comes from the West and that is associated with the Middle-Ages, Burns-Piepers explains.   “Rats live close to humans and individuals live in poverty with unsanitary living conditions” (Burns-Pieper, 2017). The mother, Raharimalala explains that even though they live in a clean place, the communities around theirs are full of dead rats which could increase the chances of the plague getting to them since rats are infected.

Burns-Pieper stated that in the 14th century in Europe, the plague was known as the Black death and that there was an estimated count of 50 million deaths during that period. This is scaring the inhabitants of Antananarivo, a city of more than a million people.

“The most common form of plague explains Burns-Pieper is the Bubonic plague which is translated through bacterias that spread to humans through infected fleas that have contracted the infection from small animals they’ve bitten such as rats” (Burns-Pieper, 2017). If it is not treated it can spread through the bloodstreams up to the lungs which can cause the pneumonic plague. This is the reason why people in Madagascar wear face masks because it passed on from person to person through coughing (Burns-Pieper, 2017).

Madagascar has been affected by the plague every year but the difference this year is that the disease if affecting highly populated areas which is why it is spreading so fast (Burns-Pieper, 2017). For now schools are closed to prevent the spread and give the chance to the government to disinfect the buildings (Burns-pieper, 2017). The government is also planning public awareness campaigns on tv and on the radios to help the individuals going through this hard period of time (Burns-Pieper, 2017).

No obligation to say that this country which is greatly affected by this disease needs help from anyone that feel they can contribute.

Here are three academic journals that might interest you. These journals could potentially be some solutions to help the areas that are infected with the plague.

1)Protecting Against Plague: Towards a Next-Generation Vaccine

2)The Anti-Plague System and the Soviet Biological Warfare Program

3)Development and testing of a rapid diagnostic test for bubonic and pneumonic plague


Being now aware of this situation, I believe that it is important to share stories about what is happening worldwide; we need to be conscious of what is happening our planet and grateful of our birth country!



Hi Sarah,
I found the subject of your article very interesting considering that many people are not aware of this situation and that it is highly dangerous to many humans. I was surprised to learn that in Madagascar, people need to walk around with masks because of the contagiousness of the disease, plague, and that it is due to unhealthy hygiene where rats transmit this disease. Your article is also more convincing considering that you used statistics from a recent and reliable source.

Though, I would encourage you to add a little definition of the word "plague", because I am not sure that it is common knowledge and this would help people understand and imagine the situation better in Madagascar. In fact, I did a little research of my own and I would suggest you take a look at this website from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which informs readers of the actual definition of the plague, how people can get it and the effects it can cause. ( Also, you could look at this second website, that I recommend, which makes distinctions between bubonic, septicemic and pneumonic plague. In addition, on this website by Medicine Net, there is some additional information about the treatment, the diagnosis, the transmission, the origin of the plague and much more. ( Lastly, I was curious to know the reason that other poorer countries were less attacked by it?

Thanks for this great article, it gave me the chance to learn more about the plague and to make my own research about the subject.

About the author

Hello fellow reader,I'm Sarah and I am a first year student at Champlain College in Saint-Lambert. There are a lot of things that I am passionate about and that I will be blogging about! There are many subjects that deffinitly deserve to be shared,deffended and adressed.