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Chikungunya Update at 25 April 2006

You are, of course, aware of the Chikungunya outbreak in the Indian Ocean which has peaked in February and March. Many have asked us about the proliferation of the Chikungunya virus in Mauritius. Don't panic, the island is safe for locals as well as tourists.

This issue can lead some of you to question the timeliness of a trip.

As you will be our guests, we have to be by your side, with
validated information, as opposed to rumour or hearsay to keep you apprised of the situation and of the eventual associated risks, if any. Much has been said in the international press which has been exaggerated and such over-estimation has been confirmed by the Director of the WHO who was in Mauritius in the beginning of this week, causing unnecessary stress, psychosis among travellers. The epidemy in La Reunion is nothing compared to Mauritius, which is not even considered an outbreak, nor an epidemy.

May we suggest you the following official sources which are known to be most reliable:
- The National TV news - see interview of Dr. Lee Jong Wook on Tuesday's national news (around 2 minutes 30 seconds after the beginning of the news - for those who do not understand French)
- The World Health Organisation website - no mention of outbreak or epidemy
- The Government of Mauritius, through its Ministry has released an official communiqué on 07 Mar
- The official Travel Advisories of Great Britain and/or France or in your countries

travel advisories are not classifying Mauritius as a no-go destination. Precautionary measures need to be taken while on the island.

What is the current status of Chikungunya in Mauritius at 25 April 2006

No. of Infected Chikungunya Cases per day
05-Feb 130
06-Feb 12
07-Feb 48
08-Feb 56
09-Feb 43
10-Feb 92
11-Feb 76
12-Feb 130
13-Feb 169
14-Feb 143
15-Feb 150
16-Feb 125
17-Feb 120
18-Feb 189
19-Feb 199
20-Feb 175
21-Feb 226
22-Feb 348
23-Feb 371
24-Feb 493
25-Feb 509
26-Feb 409
27-Feb 489
28-Feb 549
01-Mar 523
02-Mar 566
03-Mar 415
04-Mar 214
05-Mar 293
06-Mar 473
07-Mar 351
08-Mar 204
09-Mar 128
10-Mar 99
11-Mar 159
12-Mar 95
13-Mar 118
14-Mar 122
15-Mar 119
16-Mar 98
17-Mar 103
18-Mar 90
19-Mar 36
20-Mar 72
21-Mar 75
22-Mar 62
23-Mar 107
24-Mar 84
25-Mar 40
26-Mar 27
27-Mar 57
28-Mar 49
29-Mar 36
30-Mar 43
31-Mar 38
01-Apr 11
02-Apr 31
03-Apr 70
04-Apr 40
05-Apr 40
06-Apr 41
07-Apr 35
08-Apr 33
09-Apr 21
10-Apr 52
11-Apr 67
12-Apr 39
13-Apr 72
14-Apr 22
15-Apr 18
16-Apr 18
17-Apr 16
18-Apr 16
19-Apr 23

Some general information about the virus
They all come from imported infected persons probably from Comoros & Reunion island. Contrary to Reunion Island, there is no outbreak not even an epidemy in Mauritius. The Government is controlling actively the ins and outs at the airport and port so as to limit entry of infected persons. Fumigation by fogging machines by the Ministry of Health is being undertaken in the prone areas so as to kill the live mosquitoes. The vigorous and sustained measures put in place in Mauritius have, over the past few weeks, begun to bear fruit with a leveling off in the increase of confirmed cases.

"A nation-wide campaign to eradicate mosquitoes has been launched on the island," the government said in a statement detailing its efforts to halt the spread of "chikungunya." "After the recent rains on the island, the ministries of environment, regional administration and health have begun cleaning gutters and canals to stop the breeding of mosquitoes that spread chikungunya," it said. The statement did not say if or how many people had been affected but a health ministry official, said there were two confirmed and 15 suspected cases since the beginning of the year. "We have 15 suspected cases and two confirmed," ministry spokeswoman Amita Pathak told AFP. "We are on alert. The air and seaport are under high surveillance by health inspectors."

It is essential to remember that Mauritius has always been at the state-of-the-art in the fight against viral diseases transmitted by mosquitoes.

Thanks to a forceful policy of information and control, Malaria has been completely eradicated from the island since 1960. Thus, a strict medical control is carried out on any person arriving from an infected country. This person is observed by a health officer who will control, in the days following the arrival, that no symptom has developed. Passengers, in general, and particularly those coming from a zone where a mosquito-borne disease is prevalent, have their address in Mauritius noted and will be visited during their stay by a Health Officer.
Although there are no malarial mosquitoes in Mauritius, on arrival at the airport an officer from the Ministry of Health may ask you for a blood sample if you have travelled from a country where malaria is prevalent.

What do we do in our hotels at Ocean Villas and at Ocean Beauty?

In the hotel, we are taking pro-active measures to remove any stagnant water and minimize risk of mosquito proliferation. Regular insectide spraying on the property is performed. It has a residual effect. Fogging is also done in hotel premises and surroundings.

Mosquito coils are available. If you have your anti mosquito repellent (cream or spray), feel free to use them. Our grocery shop also carries mosquito repellent Vape tablets to be used in the repellent machines in the guest rooms.

What is chikungunya?

"Chikungunya" is a swahili word which means "curved up": a rather poetic description for this disease which is not lethal, but largely incapacitating.
It is transmitted via the Aedes Aegypti mosquito (mainly during the day).

The number of confirmed cases of chikungunya has been of only 962 as at the 23rd February 2006

Some extra Information about Chikungunya

Other preventive measures have been implemented throughout the island, in order to limit the risks of extension of this virus :
- the means to fight the propagation of mosquitoes have been multiplied twenty fold.
- an information campaign has been implemented to create awareness among the population, of how to contribute to the prevention efforts
- declaration of any case to local authorities has been made mandatory. This allows the authorities to monitor the evolution of the disease geographically and to take remedial, targeted actions within a day.

The various protagonists of the Tourism Industry have also carried out preventive measures to safeguard the health of their customers :

All airlines systematically disinfect each plane coming from a country affected by the virus that lands in Mauritius. This includes both the passenger cabin and the luggage and cargo hold.

All hotels have undertaken to set up a thorough action plan :
- Spraying of nature friendly insecticides several times a week
- Fumigating
- Spraying of all areas likely to become breeding grounds for mosqutoes
- Creating awareness among hotel staff and employees of medical services

Once again, there is neither fear nor reason to defer a trip to Mauritius because of Chikungunya virus.