29. This is the number of people who have contracted the dengue virus. The largest number of cases (24) was recorded in Vallée-des-Prêtres, in Port-Louis. Since then, the Ministry of Health has been working hard to prevent the virus from spreading to neighboring regions.
A first case was identified last week in Vallée-des-Prêtres. Since then, officials from the Ministry of Health have, so to speak, besieged this suburb of the capital. And for good reason. Daily, two or three new cases of dengue fever are detected among the inhabitants. The epicenter of the epidemic, a source told the Ministry of Health, is located near the Vallée-des-Prêtres primary school, School Lane. “The majority of the patients identified so far in Vallée-des-Prêtres, most of whom are Mauritians, are found within a radius of 500 meters around this epicenter. We also count a few cases, including foreigners in dormitories, within a radius of one to two kilometers, “said our interlocutor.
Even if a whole arsenal of measures has been taken (see text below), especially on the ground, in order to prevent this virus from spreading in neighboring regions, such as Cité-la-Cure, Sainte-Croix, Plaine -Verte or Vallée-Pitot, a source on the 5th floor of the Emmanuel Anquetil building indicates that the risk is real. “The risk of spread is there, because there is a movement among the inhabitants that we cannot prevent. Ditto for vehicles entering and leaving the region. This is a risk which, however, is getting smaller over the days, because we have already started the fumigation and larviciding exercises “, reassures our interlocutor.
In addition, he says, officials from the Department of Health have had to deal with this type of situation on several occasions in the past. “They experienced the episode of 2006, 2009 or even that of 2014. This means that they have not only the experience, but also all the logistics necessary to carry out their work,” he continues.
However, concedes our interlocutor, this task may prove more complicated than expected, taking into account the environment of Vallée-des-Prêtres, conducive to a rapid proliferation of mosquitoes. “You have to understand their behavior first. These mosquitoes choose containers that contain water and are in a shady place to lay eggs. Once hatched, mosquitoes fly away and nestle in fallow areas. With all this vegetation around, not to mention the rubbish here and there and the courtyards which are not always well maintained, Vallée-des-Prêtres is the ideal place for the proliferation of mosquitoes, “he maintains.
Anwar Husnoo: “No deaths so far”
“You don’t have to be alarmist. The situation is under control. “Health Minister Dr. Anwar Husnoo said yesterday. He attended an opening at the headquarters of the Alliance Française de Maurice in Bell-Village. Drawing a parallel with Reunion Island, the minister is delighted that no death has been recorded on the 29 cases registered so far. “While last year in Reunion, there were six deaths caused by the dengue virus,” said the minister. He adds that he travels regularly to see firsthand the exercises carried out in the field. Dr. Anwar Husnoo, in the aftermath, condemned the attack on two employees of the Ministry of Health in Vallée-des-Prêtres during the week. He finds this inadmissible. “Those who have done this will have to pay the consequences of their actions,” he insists.
An Air Mauritius employee tested positive
A new case of dengue fever detected yesterday by the Ministry of Health. According to our information, it is an employee of Air Mauritius who returned from a trip to India. It was subject to the protocol followed by the Ministry of Health for regions at risk.
However, it was not until Friday, March 15, that the person’s blood tests turned out to be positive for dengue fever. The patient was immediately hospitalized, said a source from the Ministry of Health. According to the procedures, health workers must telephone passengers who have just returned from countries at risk.
Health personnel immediately started a fumigation operation late Friday afternoon in the immediate vicinity of the patient’s residence.
A fumigation operation will be carried out at Paille-en-Queue Court, in Port-Louis and its surroundings in order to prevent any spread. The patient was able to access his workplace during the incubation period of the virus, said our source. The fumigation exercise at Air Mauritius headquarters is scheduled for this afternoon.
The ministry specifies that this case is not counted in the 29 cases listed in Mauritius, as being an imported case. Each year, there are several imported cases, explains a cadre of the health inspectorate.
Valley of the Priests besieged by Health
In Vallée-des-Prêtres, some 50 employees from the Ministry of Health, including Health Surveillance Officers, Public Health & Safety Officers and Sprayermen, are mobilized daily. They were divided into four teams and to whom a specific task was assigned. Objective: detect cases upstream, break the chain of transmission, while reducing the population of these mosquitoes in the region.
Team 1. Health Surveillance Officers are tasked with detecting and recording cases of fever, one of the symptoms of the virus, among residents. A door-to-door exercise that involves asking if they have a fever and then taking a blood sample from the sufferer, who is then sent to the laboratory for analysis. These workers also have the ability to do instant tests, which are blood tests that get results right away. And finally, during this exercise, they take the opportunity to raise awareness among residents through the distribution of pamphlets and mosquito repellents.
Team 2. Comprising Public Health & Safety Officers, this second team’s mission is to go from house to house in search of “nuisance”, that is any object in which water can accumulate, in particular used tires. These people have the prerogative to fine residents who do not follow their instructions.
Team 3. The third team is made up of Sprayermen who perform “larviciding”, spraying insecticide in places where there are accumulations of water in order to eliminate the larvae which will later become mosquitoes.
Team 4. If the three teams mentioned above only intervene in the morning and during the day, a fourth team comes into play at sunset. Again, this is Sprayermen but this time it is a fumigation exercise. An exercise that is done on a sequence of 0-3-7-10. That is to say that the fogging begins on a specific day, continues on the third day, then on the seventh and the tenth day.
During this exercise, the number of officials present on the ground increased from 50 to 300, or even up to 400, as was the case in Vallée-des-Prêtres in the early evening, Friday. “We then have the support of health inspectors from all 13 offices scattered across the country, officials from the Ministry of the Environment, the Special Mobile Force, among others. Divided into several teams, each of them must cover a specific region, “said an official from the Ministry of Health. He said the field exercises will continue as long as no case is identified during a period of about a month. “Only after that can we say that Vallée-des-Priest is out of business,” he said.
Special arrangements at Dr A.G. Jeetoo Hospital
At Dr. A.G Jeetoo Hospital, where about 20 infected people have so far been admitted, special arrangements have been made to manage them effectively. This is what Jameer Yeadally, press secretary at the Ministry of Health, says.
When a person tests positive for dengue virus after a blood test, they are immediately admitted to hospital. “For this, we have set up a” fast track “in the emergency department. The patient was admitted to a Ward Side Ward ’, a secluded General Wards room, and the bed was covered with a mosquito net. Immediately treatments will start, especially against fever and body aches. If the patient is dehydrated, the doctors will put him on an infusion. From there, the patient will have regular blood tests until the results are negative for the virus. Only then will he be allowed to go home, “says Jameer Yeadally, noting that treatment can take several days.
Social group Karo Lalo and Vallée-des-Prêtres – Mahadeven Ghengadoo: “The inhabitants live in fear”
Fear is said to have settled among residents of Vallée-des-Prêtres. This is what Mahadeven Ghengadoo, president of the Karo lalo and Vallée-des-Prêtres Social Group, indicates.
“Bann habitan pe viv dan la krintt. Pa pe kone kouma tousala pe arive. “Mahadeven Ghengadoo, whom everyone in the region knows as” Amba “. Parents, he said, are afraid to send their children to school. “Nevertheless, we had a meeting with the head of the primary school in Vallée-des-Prêtres. He assured us that all measures had been taken, notably through fumigation exercises on the school grounds and the distribution of mosquito repellant to schoolchildren, “said Mahadeven Ghengadoo.
In addition, he says, the almost permanent presence of the officials of the Ministry of Health in Vallée-des-Prêtres reassures. “They go door to door looking for people with symptoms of the virus and carry out the fumigation and larvicide exercise,” said the director of a transport company.
Amba adds that residents are more aware and have taken the initiative to take the necessary precautions. “Some people clean their yards while others get rid of the objects in which these mosquitoes can lay eggs. People also use mosquito repellents and lotions more, ”he says.
Amba, through the Social Group Karo Lalo and Vallée-des-Prêtres, says it collaborates fully with the authorities. “We attend meetings. Since we know the region well, we sometimes accompany the officials concerned on the ground, ”says Mahadeven Ghengadoo, while conceding that some are more reluctant. “Ena fear pou donn koudme tensyon zot gayn sa,” he said.