-  Saturday 15 August 2020

    French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin visits disease-ridden Reunion Island

    French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin is visiting disease-ridden Reunion in the Indian Ocean on Sunday, an island where some 157,000 people - a fifth of the population - have fallen victims to chikungunya, an illness spread by mosquitoes.Unfortunately the disease has now been also been brought into France by people who have travelled from Reunion.

    French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin's trip comes amid claims that the French government's response to the disease has been inadequate because it has focused too much on the bird flu threat at home.The prime minister will inspect a government crisis centre, a hospital and a mosquito-eradication programme as well.About 500 French troops have been put into action helping health workers on the island spray areas where the insects breed.

    Some 77 deaths on French-governed Reunion have been linked directly or indirectly to chikungunya and Gelita Hoareau, a senator representing the island, called the situation "catastrophic".There have also been reported cases of chikungunya, which in Swahili means "that which bends up", in Mauritius, the Seychelles and Madagascar, and symptoms include high fever, dehydration and severe pain.

    Francois Bricaire, head of infectious diseases at the Pitie-Salpetriere hospital in Paris, said about 30 cases had been discovered in his service and he told French radio that:"We have people returning from La Reunion who have symptoms of chikungunya and their diagnoses have been confirmed".



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