Via allAfrica.com: Madagascar: Plague Claims More Than 30 Lives. Case and death numbers vary, but this is the first report that identifies the environmental source of the outbreak–and it buries the story at the end.
An outbreak of plague more vicious than the bubonic strain called the Black Death has killed 39 people in Madagascar, the government said, according to an AFP report.
A government doctor, in a statement read to AFP, said 90 percent of the cases were pneumonic plague, apparently much more vicious than the common bubonic plague that can kill in three days.
"There is an epidemic in Madagascar which is currently affecting five districts (out of 112). Eighty-six people have been inflicted by the plague, of which 39 have died," said the health ministry in a statement read to AFP.
According to the BBC, the International Committee of the Red Cross warned in October that Madagascar was at risk of a plague epidemic.
The outbreak has been blamed on an infestation of rats in residential areas due to uncontrolled deforestation.
Right here in North Vancouver, we've had recent anecdotal reports of rat invasions uphill from a road-building project near the harbour that required clearing a forested strip of land between the harbour and a nearby residential area.
My own local park contains a substantial rat population; they're usually discreet neighbours, but they're numerous enough to support a family of barred owls. The bears and raccoons are a worse problem, and the skunks are worst of all. (De-skunking a dog is the definition of no fun at all.)
Granted, I live in an odd location: Vancouver is a big city, but if you flew due north from here, the next big settlement you hit would be Samarkand. Within walking distance of my house, a forest starts that has its clearcut and beetle-killed patches but extends all the way to the tree line. If you live on the interface, you have to expect visits from your neighbours.
But when you push the interface into the neighbours' property, some of the neighbours will look for new homes on your side. If those neighbours are carrying Yersinia pestis in their personal attendants, you will pay a high price.