Police in Madagascar are being forced to seize bodies of people who have died from the plague because their families are unwilling to part with them.
Aid workers describe the situation as ‘terrible’ as official figures reveal cases have spiraled by eight per cent in just a week with nearly 2,000 now infected.
And experts fear the ‘worst outbreak in 50 years’, which has claimed the lives of 143 people, could continue its rampage unless families hand over corpses of loved ones.
The outbreak, which is deemed to be at ‘crisis’ point, has prompted nine countries, some of which on mainland Africa, to brace themselves for potential outbreaks.
Charlotte Ndiaye, a World Health Organisation worker on the ground, made the bold claim in an interview with South Africa’s Mail & Guardian.
She said: ‘The problem you have now among communities in Madagascar is that most families don’t want to give back the body.
‘The police come to take the body. This is terrible. It is really terrible.’
And because there is a lack of an ‘official’ plague burial system, hundreds of families are confused about what they should do with the dead bodies, Ms Ndiaye warned.