Plague-hit Madagascar Bans Jail Visits

Antananarivo – Authorities in Madagascar on 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.

Map of Madagascar

Map of Madasgascar

“In order to protect prisoners from the plague that is spreading outside the prison, we have decided to suspend family visits,” said prisons administrator Arsen Ralisaona.

Flea bites

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 is spread by infected rats via flea bites and pneumonic plague, which spreads from person to person.

It has also resulted in a ban on public gatherings and forced the closure of two universities – putting pressure on the country’s health facilities.

According to local media, Ambohimiandra, a specialised hospital in the capital Antananarivo, was failing to cope with the influx of infected patients. Long queues had formed outside, as people flocked to buy face masks and medicine.


Madagascar suffers annual plague outbreaks, but this year the disease has affected urban areas, triggering concern from the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The latest official toll from the plague stood at 36 on Friday, out of 258 people who have contracted the disease since August.

WHO has announced a delivery of 1.2 million doses of antibiotics to assist the country.

Source: AFP

Categories: Africa, UN

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