The outbreak of the plague on the African island of Madagascar (east to South Africa) is proving to be a logistical nightmare for the Church of Latter Day Saints (LDS).
So far, 69 LDS Missionaries have had to be relocated or reassigned “as a precautionary measure,” whilst ten additional missionaries will return home early.
The Mormon newsroom stated: “Ensuring the health and safety of our missionaries is our top priority. This is a very challenging situation for the missionaries, members and citizens of these countries, and we are taking every practical step to reduce risk and praying for their health and safety.”
According to the World Health Organization, the plague outbreak in Madagascar has so far infected 800 people whilst claiming the lives of 74 of them.
<blockquote class="twitter-video" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">On Wednesday we began working with local authorities to tackle an outbreak of pneumonic <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Plague?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Plague</a> in <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Tamatave?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Tamatave</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Madagascar?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Madagascar</a> <a href="https://t.co/J4CafsgtKf">pic.twitter.com/J4CafsgtKf</a></p>— MSF Australia (@MSFAustralia) <a href="https://twitter.com/MSFAustralia/status/921125565054074881?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">October 19, 2017</a></blockquote>
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At first health officials thought that it was another malaria infection when they inspected the body of the 1st deadly victim, known as ‘patient zero’ in viral infections, but afterwards they had to admit that the 34 year old had contracted the plague.
What is striking, is that the pneumonic plague outbreak has hit those sectors of society which are outside the impoverished communities.
Dr Manitra Rakotoarivony, Madagascar’s Director of Health Promotion: “Normally, the people who catch the plague … live in poor areas, but in this case we find the well-to-do, the directors, the professors, people in every place in society, catching the disease.”
“It is a dangerous moment. You can leave your house today and catch the plague tomorrow. What are we supposed to do today … and tomorrow? That’s the question facing us.”
The WHO says the plague is mostly a “disease of poverty” caused because of unsanitary living conditions. Over the course of the last decade, Madagascar’s plague problem appears to have intensified, driven by a combination of both economic and environmental factors.