Author(s): Ngulube TJ, Mwanza K, Njobvu CA, Muula AS
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Abstract In 2001, two plague outbreaks were reported in Zambia, one of which occurred in Petauke, Eastern Province, resulting in high morbidity and mortality. Of the community respondents, 43.4\% did not know the aetiology of plague. Although rats and fleas were frequently mentioned, many respondents did not know how these were related to plague. Local belief that the plague outbreak was the result of witchcraft was prevalent. Use of rodenticides was not preferred as these were reports of they being used for poisoning people. The public health response was initially slow by both the community and also the formal health sector. Once the diagnosis of plague was made, fears of witchcraft dispelled and collaboration not only between the formal health sector and the community, but also between Zambian health workers and their Mozambican counterparts developed, and it was possible to control the outbreak.
This article was published in Trop Doct
and referenced in Journal of Antivirals & Antiretrovirals