Health. Should we be worried about cases of cholera in Reunion and Mayotte?

Health.  Should we be worried about cases of cholera in Reunion and Mayotte?

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This Monday, March 18, a suspected case of cholera coming from the Comoros was detected in Mayotte. Two days later, it was the ARS of Reunion Island which identified a case originating from India.

These patients were taken care of and their condition “ don’t worry “. The Regional Health Agencies specify that “ the necessary precautionary measures are implemented and contact tracing is underway “.

This is not the first time that this situation has occurred in Reunion. The last imported case on the island was in 2022, from the Middle East.

On the Mayotte side, the proximity of the Comoros, where the disease is endemic, pushed the authorities to put in place its action plan several weeks ago allowing the detection and rapid treatment of cases in the territory.

Cholera, a disease of poverty

Cholera is an illness caused by ingestion of water or food contaminated by bacteria Vibrio cholerae. It affects populations without sufficient access to drinking water and basic sanitation services.

While most infected people have no or mild symptoms, the disease can manifest as acute diarrhea and vomiting, sometimes leading to death, within just a few hours.

According to the World Health Organization, “It is estimated that there are 1.3 to 4 million cases of cholera each year, and 21,000 to 143,000 deaths from the disease worldwide.”

In France (excluding Guyana and Mayotte, where limited epidemics occurred in the 1990s – 2000s), sanitation and hygiene measures led to the disappearance of the disease.

Imported cases – as is the case in Reunion Island – are rare and mainly linked to the consumption of contaminated drinks or food abroad. Between 0 and 2 cases of cholera have been declared each year in France since 2000.

Cholera treatment essentially consists of compensating for water and electrolyte losses. Rehydration is done orally (or intravenously in the most serious cases).

In this case, the patient’s condition improves quickly and recovery occurs within a few days. Please note: as the Pasteur Institute specifies, “ several vaccines against cholera are now available “.

Sources: Regional Health Agencies of Reunion and Mayotte – Pasteur Institute – WHO

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