ANTANANARIVO, Oct. 12 (Xinhua) -- The Pasteur Institute of Madagascar and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have begun a campaign of rat extermination in Antanimora prison in Madagascar's capital Antananarivo, to prevent the spread of bubonic plague.
A leader of Antanimora prison told Xinhua Saturday that steps are being taken to prevent an epidemic of the flea-borne disease, with prisoners participating in disinfection work, including the spraying of insecticide.
He added that they captured 1,600 rats during a similar campaign in 2012 and said no bubonic plague has been identified in the prison since they began pest control activities in 2011.
The institute has identified rural areas and slums as particularly at risk, a director there confirmed to Xinhua Saturday.
An average of 500 cases of bubonic plague were reported every year from 2009 to 2013 in Madagascar, while in 2012 there were 256 cases and 60 deaths, the world's highest recorded number, the Ministry of Health said.