Mauritius: Mauritius takes steps to prevent pneumonic plague

Port-Louis, Mauritius (PANA) - Mauritius has taken all precautionary and control measures at its air and sea ports, and reinforced surveillance at all levels in a bid to prevent transmission of pneumonic plague which is currently affecting the near-by island of Madagascar.

According to Mauritian Health and Quality of Life Minister Mr Anwar Husnoo, the plague is endemic to Madagascar but contrary to past outbreaks, this one is affecting large urban areas including the capital, Antananarivo, and port cities.

He said the outbreak of pneumonic plague is an annual occurrence in Madagascar which normally reports about 400 cases per year, usually in remote highlands.

“This outbreak is different since many of the infected live in more densely populated towns and the capital and the infections reported are pneumonic plague which is transmitted through the air, making it much more difficult to control,” Mr Husnoo underlined.

The Minister indicated that as at now, around 350 cases and 46 deaths have been reported in Madagascar since the outbreak last August. “It is thus imperative to monitor the situation since around 1,200 passengers per week travel from Madagascar to Mauritius,” he emphasised.

The measures taken at the airport include inspection and disinfection of all planes arriving from Madagascar; referral of passengers arriving from Madagascar who are suffering from cough to the Regional Public Health Superintendent; filling of Health Declaration Form by passengers and screening of travellers at Health Counters. Their particulars are forwarded to the appropriate regional Health Office for surveillance for 10 days.

Any suspect is referred to hospital for investigation and treatment. Further, rodent control activities have been intensified at the airport.

Surveillance at the sea port has also been reinforced. The measures include inspection of all ships arriving from Madagascar with valid Ship Sanitation Control Certificate and placing of rat guards to ships arriving and berthed at quay.

Others are fumigation of food cargo before release; intensification of rodent control activities; inspection of all premises by Public Health Inspectors; and surveillance of crew members.

In view of the prevailing situation, the Minister appealed to the public to avoid travelling to Madagascar unless it is very necessary.
-0- PANA NA/MA 12Oct2017

12 october 2017 07:04:44

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