Four Malagasy journalists contract plague

Thursday October 19 2017

Malagasy Communications minister Harry Laurent Rahajason (r) talks with one of the four journalists infected with plague at the Ambohimiandra hospital centre in Antananarivo on October 18, 2017. RIVONALA RAZAFISON | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Malagasy Communications minister Harry Laurent Rahajason (r) talks with one of the four journalists infected with plague at the Ambohimiandra hospital centre in Antananarivo on October 18, 2017. RIVONALA RAZAFISON | NATION MEDIA GROUP  

By RIVONALA RAZAFISON
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Four journalists have contracted the plague that is ravaging Madagascar, officials confirmed.

The president of the Madagascar Journalists Union (OJM), Mr Gérard Rakotonirina, said the infected members were base in the capital Antananarivo.

Mr Rakotonirina said they were undergoing treatment at the anti-plague centre of Ambohimiandra, Antananarivo.

“They are out of danger but have to remain at the hospital until next weekend,” Mr Rakotonirina said.

Communications minister Harry Laurent Rahajason visited the sick journalists on Wednesday and commended them for their role in fighting the disease.

He said their case was a testimony to the risks that journalists were exposed to.

The minister also commended the journalists for seeking medical attention as soon as they noticed the symptoms of the disease in them.

“They adopted the good behaviour. Not only did they take care of themselves, but they also avoided infecting others,” said the minister, also a journalist.

At least 80 people have died from the 810 plague infections reported in Madagascar since August.

People in the plague-prone areas have been advised against shaking hands, as a means of containing the spread.

Caused by infection with the bacterium Yersinia pestis, plague is spread through the bite of infected fleas, frequently carried by rats.

The plague symptoms include painful, swollen lymph nodes, as well as fever, chills and coughing.