Virulent Ritual

A plague outbreak in Madagascar that’s killed 124 people since August has health officials concerned about famadihana, a sacred ritual where families disinter the bodies of their loved ones.
 
In the famadihana, or “turning of the bones” ritual—practiced every 5, 7 and 9 years—bodies are retrieved from tombs and given new wrappings. Family members then dance with the remains before reburial.
 
If the person died from the pneumonic plague, remains can contain Yersinia pestis bacteria and infect those who handle the body. Officials mandate that plague victims be buried in unmarked tombs, but this violates hallowed practices that many refuse to abandon.
 
Newsweek
 
Thanks for the tip, Nate Rogers!

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