Legal Matters

Prevention and control of Chikungunya, Dengue, Malaria and Zika are critical, says Minister Husnoo

The prevention and control of chikungunya, dengue, malaria and zika are critical for Mauritius because our island is vulnerable to outbreaks of the above mentioned diseases. This statement was made this morning by the Minister of Health and Quality of Life, Dr Anwar Husnoo, in Port Louis during an intersectoral meeting on vector-borne diseases which brought together several stakeholders from the public and private sectors.

The meeting, chaired by the Health Minister, discussed about the current situation, measures taken and the way forward. All stakeholders, namely the Ministry of Local Government, Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, Ministry of Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research, Ministry of Tourism and Leisure, l’Association des Hoteliers et Restaurateurs de l’A�le Maurice, Business Mauritius, World Health Organisation, the police, private clinics and private sector operators, have been called upon to reinforce the surveillance system put in place as regards vector control activities.

Emphasis was laid on cleaning of drains; disposal of wastes; cleaning of bare lands, canals and river banks; cleaning of school yards; fogging and larviciding; community participation and assistance of local NGOs to sensitise the population; and sensitisation campaigns through the media.

Minister Husnoo pointed out that these vector-borne diseases are not endemic in Mauritius but that necessary actions and preventive measures need to be taken so as to prevent the proliferation of these diseases which are transmitted by mosquitoes.

He listed out some of the reasons why Mauritius is vulnerable to these diseases. These are: extensive travel and trade links of Mauritius to dengue, chikungunya, malaria and zika endemic zones; high number of high risk environmental pockets favouring breeding of mosquitoes; and lack of immunity in the population which increases the risks of outbreaks.

Minister Husnoo pointed out that last year there were 28 cases of imported cases of malaria, three cases of chikungunya, 13 cases of dengue and no cases of zika. He called for extreme vigilance since summer months are associated with an increase in mosquito population. Recently the country has witnessed localized heavy downpours thus resulting in accumulation of water which will lead to increase in breeding places, while overgrown vegetation can serve as mosquito harboring places, said the Minister.

Several measures have been put in place by the Ministry for the control and prevention of the diseases. As regards disease surveillance, case detection starts at the port of entry. Passengers coming from endemic regions are screened by health inspectors and the thermal scanner at the airport. These passengers are thereafter followed up at their place of residence.

Vector control activities include survey of mosquito breeding sites such as peri-domestic areas and flood prone areas, as well as larviciding which is carried out all over the island throughout the year. Fogging and spraying activities are also undertaken whenever required. Ongoing sensitisation and awareness campaigns through media and at community level are also carried out.

Source: Government of Mauritius