Bubonic plague in Madagascar and bird beak doctor masks

Buboes of Bubonic Plague


The bubonic plague is becoming a problem in Madagascar:

October 11, 2013 JOHANNESBURG — The already troubled African island of Madagascar faces a new and terrifying threat:  bubonic plague. In recent years, the Indian Ocean nation has become the world’s top site for the storied disease, with hundreds of cases and scored of plague deaths last year. Aid officials are warning that things could get worse unless more is done to prevent and fight the spread of the often-deadly disease.

Madagascar is the world’s hotspot for this flea-borne disease. It first gained infamy in the 14th century for killing some 25 million people in Europe. That epidemic earned the disease its ominous nickname, Black Death.

Last year, Madagascar saw more cases of bubonic plague than anywhere in the world, with 256 cases and 60 deaths. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) says that some 500 cases have been recorded on the island every year since 2009.

The ICRC this week announced a campaign with Malagasy authorities to eliminate flea-ridden disease-carrying rodents in a prison in the capital. Prisons in the nation are often overcrowded and dirty, making them ideal breeding grounds for disease.

Bubonic plague is rare in the modern era. But ICRC spokesman Jean-Yves Clémenzo says it persists in some pockets of the world, like Madagascar. He spoke to VOA from Geneva. “It’s not only Madagascar. You have still cases of plague in around 15 countries in the world, mainly the Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar and some South American countries,” he stated. “It’s mainly due to poor health conditions, poor infrastructure.”

Bubonic plague sounds terrifying because it is. Victims who are bitten by plague-infected fleas — carried on rats — often develop painful lymph-node swelling, flu-like symptoms and gangrene on their extremities. Without life-saving antibiotics, about two-thirds of those infected will die, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Medical officials say plague is not spread from person to person. But no vaccine is available.

Clémenzo said that it is vital to not hesitate if you are bitten by a flea and begin to experience symptoms. “So if you fear that you have plague, that you have bites on the body, what is important is to react very quickly, as the disease can spread and people can die in 24 hours. So it’s important to contact, to go to the [nearest] health facility or to contact the Institute Pasteur in Antananarivo and to act very, very, very quickly,” he explained.  http://www.voanews.com/content/bubonic-plague-madagascar-sees-new-terrifying-threat/1767708.html

The plague historically devastated Europe and has caused a lot of problems.  Now, it looks like Madagascar is facing a potentially devastating outbreak.

Pestilences, like the plague, are warned about for the end times. Jesus taught:

7…And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows. (Matthew 24:6-8)

8…And there will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines and troubles. These are the beginnings of sorrows.  (Mark 13:8)

We seem to be in the time Jesus called “the beginning of sorrows.”  Speaking of sorrows and troubles, up to 60,000 head of cattle have died from storms in South Dakota this month (http://www.cattlenetwork.com/cattle-news/Up-to-60000-cattle-lost-in-SD-storm-aid-slow-to-materialize–226955821.html).  This certainly is troubling.

Getting back to the plague, interestingly, today the Russian press had the following information about how doctors used to dress to treat it in the Middle Ages:

October 11, 2013

The largest pandemic (Black Death) of 1348 – 1351 was brought to Europe by Genoese sailors from the East…It was believed that the mask with a beak that made doctors look like ancient Egyptian deities repelled the disease. The beak’s function was to protect the doctor from foul smell of the sick. The tip of the beak was filled with strong-smelling herbs that made breathing in the constant stench of plague easier.  Plague Doctors constantly chewed garlic for prevention, and the beak protected others from the garlic odor. In addition, doctors put incense on a special sponge and placed it in the nose and ears. To prevent suffocation from this bouquet of smells, the beak had two small vents. The mask also had a glass insert for eyes protection. A long waxed coat and leather or oiled clothes made ​​of thick fabric were required to avoid contact with infected patients. Often clothes were soaked with a mixture of camphor, oil and wax. In reality, it allowed to some extent to avoid bites of plague carries – fleas, and protected from the airborne disease, although people were not aware of it at the time. The costume was completed with a leather hat with a hood with a cape under it covering the joint between the mask and clothing. Costumes varied depending on the location and doctors’ financial resources.  http://english.pravda.ru/society/stories/11-10-2013/125877-plague-0/

Obviously, I am not advocating bird beak masks for modern treatment of the plague.

So why mention bird beak masks?

Well, they were mainly used by “Catholic’ doctors in the Middle Ages, despite coming from ancient Egyptian deities.  Also, I have noticed that these bird beak masks are frequently associated with Mardi Gras, which supposedly is supposed to be tied in with Catholic holidays.

Christianity and the adoption of pagan religious customs should not mix.  But many who profess Christianity mix them any way.

That being said, we should all pray for those in Madagascar and consider how serious outbreaks of the plague can be.

Some items of related interest may include:

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse What do each of the four horseman of the Apocalypse represent? Have they began their ride? Did Jesus discuss the any of this? Might their rides coincide with the “beginning of sorrows? Do they start their ride prior to the Great Tribulation? Did Nostradamus or any other ‘private prophets’ write predictions that may mislead people so that they may not understand the truth of one or more of the four horseman? There is also a related YouTube video titled The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
Fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse What is the pale horse of death and pestilences? What will it bring and when? Spanish: El cuarto jinete de Apocalipsis, el caballo pálido de muerte y pestilencia.
Can the Great Tribulation Begin in 2013, 2014, or 2015? Can the Great Tribulation begin today? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What happens in the “beginning of sorrows”? What is the Day of the Lord?
Weather Blessings and Sorrows Are weather problems a warning? What should be done? What does the Bible teach about weather? What about floods, droughts, heat, earthquakes, tornadoes, and solar storms? Here is a related YouTube video Does God Use Weather? A related item in the Spanish language would be Bendiciones y maldiciones del clima.
Mardi Gras: The Devil’s Carnival? Is Mardi Gras Christian? Do you know that in Bolivia the carnival/Mardi Gras time is part of a celebration known as the Devil’s Carnival? Where did it come from?
Is Lent a Christian Holiday? When did it originate? What about Ash Wednesday? If you observe them, do you know why? Here is an old, by somewhat related, article in the Spanish language by Dr. Hoeh: ¿Por Qué Se Observa la Cuaresma?
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions.
Is Halloween Holy Time for Christians? Here are some historical and biblical insight on this question. There are many cultures that have celebrations and observances that are similar to some associated with Halloween. What did the Druids do? Is Halloween one of the most important holidays for Satanists? Do the Japanese, Indians, and Chinese have any practices that are similar to some associated with Halloween? Does the Bible endorse or condemn practices that are associated with Halloween? Here is a related sermonette length video: International ‘Halloween’ Should Christians observe Halloween?

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