Cholera in Mayotte: “the risk that the situation will worsen is obvious” says a doctor on site

Cholera in Mayotte: “the risk that the situation will worsen is obvious” says a doctor on site

Les derniers chiffres officiels font état de 65 cas de choléra à Mayotte, deux jours après un premier décès. DR

The cholera epidemic continues in Mayotte where 65 cases were recorded this Friday, May 10, two days after the first death linked to the disease of a 3-year-old girl. If the Minister of Health, traveling on the island, affirms that the epidemic is now "under control", is there a risk that the health situation will deteriorate? ;is getting worse in Mayotte and cholera is reaching mainland France?

Started on March 18 with the first cases arriving from the Comoros, the cholera epidemic in Mayotte has so far affected 65 people, including a three-year-old girl who died Wednesday May 8, according to the latest report communicated by the Ministry in charge of Health, Frédéric Valletoux, this Friday May 10.

While traveling on the island, the minister affirmed that the epidemic is now "under control&quot ; and "circumscribed". However, can we be completely reassured or is there a risk that the situation will worsen in Mayotte, or even that the epidemic will spread to the  metropolis ?

"The risk that the situation will get worse is obvious"

A general practitioner in a dispensary in Mamoudzou, the capital of the 101st French department, estimates that "the risk that the situation will worsen is obvious".

Because there is currently only one outbreak, the Kirson district in Kongou, where 3,700 people have been vaccinated , "there are a lot of neighborhoods like this on the island", where the disease risks proliferating due to the lack of ;rsquo;access to clean water."We are on the alert, we are waiting for another wave, says the doctor. Nothing tells us that tomorrow cases won't explode in another neighborhood".

Restrictions on access to water have been eased but continue. "We are still cut off one day out of three for 24 hours", testifies the doctor. Those who do not have access to drinking water wash their hands and wash their dishes in the river where potentially contaminated water flows. "The health conditions are dramatic and make it impossible for the disease to disappear overnight", specifies the doctor .

As to whether the cholera epidemic could spread to mainland France, the risk seems minimal. "Illness is closely linked to lack of hygiene but it’s lack of access to care that means we can die from it".

Distributions and installations of water ramps

A problem to which the government intends to respond by continuing "water distributions as much as necessary" and by installing "water ramps in certain neighborhoods of the island", specified the minister responsible for health.

But Mayotte is faced with many difficulties, particularly in terms of the health system in place on the island, which only has one hospital and five emergency doctors for some 310,000 people. inhabitants according to official population figures, probably underestimated. "The teams here suffer because they are constantly and for a long time subjected to extremely tense", noted Frédéric Valletoux.

Our on-site contact confirms this; This cholera crisis is added to the already existing one of lack of means and medical staff, even though other diseases such as dengue or other forms of serious diarrhea are rampant.

The minister affirmed that work to extend and modernize the hospital, the cost of which would amount to 242 million ;rsquo;euros, should start "in a few weeks". The public authorities have also committed to building a second hospital in another part of the island.

A glimmer of hope for the Mahorais that the health situation on the island is improving, and that a health system is finally emerging. "worthy of the name". Because "it’it’s frustrating that we don't talk about Mayotte since there are starting to be serious cases, while the hospital system is already failing for a long time, depriving the population of recourse to normal care".

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