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Madagascar battles with plague outbreak

ANTANANARIVO

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 21 people in Antananarivo since August, according to the health ministry.

“The plague is a disease that comes from the filth, because the filth attracts rats, and rats carry fleas which transmit the plague to humans,” said Rakotoarivony, 45. “I fear getting the plague here, but I don’t have any choice, I have to cross this bridge every day, so I do it at speed.”

Rakotoarivony is one of many on the Indian Ocean island nation who are increasingly fearful of the unusually virulent outbreak that has so far killed 48 people nationwide.

Agence France-Presse