SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Oct. 19, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is moving its Madagascar missionaries to other areas temporarily due to an outbreak of the plague.
As of Thursday morning, 74 people had died as a result of infection. Researchers at the World Health Organization say a 31-year-old man visiting the island’s central highlands first exhibited symptoms of malaria. After he took a crowded minibus taxi to the capital city, the man died.
More than 800 people have been infected over a period of two months.
The LDS Church released the following statement:
“Due to the emerging outbreak of plague in Madagascar, as a precautionary measure, the missionaries serving on the island of Madagascar are in the process of being transferred out of this area or temporarily reassigned to other missions.
“The missionaries from the Madagascar Antananarivo Mission who are serving on the islands of Mauritius and Reunion will remain. A total of 69 missionaries are being relocated or reassigned. An additional 10 missionaries who are nearing the end of their mission service will return home.
“Ensuring the health and safety of our missionaries is our top priority. In recent weeks measures have been taken to reduce risk to missionaries, including providing them with prescription medication to help prevent plague and asking them to remain in their apartments.
“There are no reports of illness among the missionaries. Families are being notified as the missionaries are temporarily reassigned. This is a very challenging situation for the missionaries, members and citizens of these countries, and we are taking every practical step to reduce risk and praying for their health and safety.”