The Black Death Lives On

After the Black Plague reached the end of its duration throughout Europe and several other countries around the globe in 1348, there have been minimal cases of it showing up present day; despite of this, some continents such as Madagascar have dealt with the plague centuries later and it has caused nothing but a crisis. According to the European Center For Disease Prevention and Control, the first case of the Black Plague within Madagascar was recorded in January of 2008 (Plague Outbreak). Their studies show the rise and fall of people reported to have the plague as well as fatality rate. Since 2008, the Black Plague has spread across Madagascar and killed a numerous amount of people. Today, the Black Plague still lives on and is not showing signs of receding. In an article by the Washington Post, they state that the main causes of the plague are mainly due to their burial rituals; it is seen as custom to rewrap the corpse of a loved one every five to seven years as a sign of respect (Lam). Because a lot of these people died from the plague, those handling the body are prone to receiving the sickness and therefore they create a never ending cycle of disease victims. While their government is doing everything they can about the issue – such as enforcing cement coffins so the deceased cannot be accessed – people are still finding their way around these laws to perform tradition.

I think that this problem is comparable to the controversy behind vaccinations within the United States. As of recently, many are protesting against vaccines for children because they believe the effects have the possibility to develop into some sort of autism. Diseases like chicken pox, whooping cough, and measles that shouldn’t be around, are actually coming back in full force because these children haven’t had proper prevention from them. This situation is almost exactly like Madagascar’s only with different factors; we can see that both consist of people whom are unwilling to follow rules and people who are suffering because the diseases were spread onto them. What we as Minnesotans should ask ourselves is if no vaccinating future generations is worth it. If past sicknesses we’ve worked so hard to eliminate start to consume the U.S. again alongside new viruses such as the Zika virus we still don’t have a cure for, our country will ultimately  end up like Madagascar does today and not be able to save people from dying from these truly preventable diseases.

Lam, May-Yin. “The Plague, Alive and Well in Madagascar.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, 9 Mar. 2016. Web 23 Nov. 2016.

“Plague Outbreak, August-November 2014, Madagascar.” RAPID RISK ASSESSMENT (n.d.): n. pag. ECDC. European Center For Disease Pre9vention and Control, 4 Dec. 2014. Web. 23 Nov. 2016.




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