So… Madagascar (the little island off the bottom of Africa) has been having a bad time lately. It’s come down with an astonishing outbreak of black death (as in the plague) and as of today the disease has infected thousands and killed 93 people.
Now there are concerns it may last for another six months.
The Plague was introduced to Madagascar hundreds of years ago by rats on ships from Europe. Since then it’s had annual outbreaks every year when seasonal weather changes force various rodents (and the disease bearing fleas they carry) into populated villages. Those fleas are then responsible for transferring the disease to humans.
The highland streaked tenrec (pictured above) is one rodent that is strongly associated with the disease.
Experts recently stated that this year’s abnormally large El Nino may also be responsible for the unusual conditions that have forced these furry little guys (and others) down into Madagascar’s populated regions.
Now for the first time ever those regions include Madagascar’s cities where the Plague has quickly infected more people than ever before. Experts are especially afraid that the disease may spread to mainland Africa where it has the potential to infect and kill even more.
So there we have it. In 2017 the Black Death is out and about and may even get much worse before it has any chance of getting better.