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The Return Of The Black Death (Documentary)

In the minds of most Westerners, still, the Black Plague triggers thoughts of history lessons, or of movies about the Middle Ages. This is not a modern era illness we face. To oversimplify, the Black Death is supposed to be dead. Well, with recent mainstream reporting about a third world outbreak – and a public health scare as two victims returned to Atlanta (Georgia, USA) for treatment – the West likely experienced a mental software upgrade that re-ranked the disease much higher among the threats to health and chances of survival. However, as is oft the case for mainstream media, another shiny new story came up, and another (Ray Rice, U.S.-led airstrikes…whatever, take your pick); and Western reporters moved on to the next one…on to the next one. But not VICE. This is where VICE lives: Embedded in the hottest areas of stories too dangerous AND too low on the ‘this just in’ scale of current events for big-budget reporting outfits to care about; usually in faraway places and affecting people who are to far removed from ‘us’ to care about. THAT is why we f#ck with VICE: Because as a noble reporting institution that could do otherwise, it consistently chooses to find and stay on the stories that thinking and feeling people would indeed care about (or care about longer) if they were told and kept fully informed about them. Like this Black Death that the mainstream news (liberal and conservative leaning) thinks is ‘dead’ (e.g. a dead story). It is still VERY much alive. And not knowing and keeping up with it could still get lots and lots of us KILLED.

[I]n the fall of 2013, Beranimbo [Madagascar, Africa] had been an epicenter of a black plague outbreak that resulted in nearly 600 cases and more than 90 deaths across the country. Madagascar reports the most instances of the disease in the world. Depending on which century you’re talking about, it’s perhaps best known as the plague—a scourge generally associated with the Middle Ages, when rats, fleas, and poor hygiene resulted in the deaths of between 75 and 200 million people. The disease remains an enduring threat in third-world nations; public-health watchdogs report up to 2,000 cases a year.

VICE gives a detailed, two-part documentary report and writeup. Watch, starting with part 1 above. Follow the link to read more below; and hit the jump for part 2. Get this knowledge in you like medicine! Folks and the media think the ‘curing’ of two folks in the ATL is a triumph over what could be considered a ‘scary outbreak that happened over there.’ Nah, maaan. This thing could hit a city! Thousands to millions of people at risk. Maybe that’d make it ‘big’ enough to get outbreak coverage again but… as the VICE report adeptly put it: “[H]istory has taught us, by the time there are enough people with the plague to classify it as an “outbreak,” it’s already too late.”


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