Plague-infected rats reach Naypyidaw

Rats suspected to be carrying the plague have been found dead in Burma’s remote capital Naypyidaw, the government’s health ministry has warned.

Around six rat corpses were discovered in the compound of a government office in the newly-built city, which houses mainly civil servants and government officials. The health ministry has circulated a warning among state departments, Reuters reported.

It follows sightings of hordes of rodents on the move in central Burma at the end of last month that locals thought could be a sign of an impending natural disaster.

Thousands were spotted heading towards urban areas in central Burma’s Bago and Mandalay divisions, while one Rangoon-based travel agent told Reuters that he had seen “hundreds of dead mice killed after being driven over by vehicles scattered on the highway” between Naypyidaw and the former capital.

A warning issued by the health ministry was carried in the state-owned Kyemon newspaper at the beginning of July. It warned civilians and government workers to “prevent infestation of rats around your house, office, market and neighbourhood”.

“Be aware that if a rat dies in your area it could be due to the plague,” it continued, urging people to “Contact nearby health centres to test on rats suspected of being infected with the disease”.

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