Dr Jude Gedeon met with the media on Wednesday 11th October to give an update on the pneumonic plague situation in Seychelles. Speaking to several media houses, he addressed the weakly positive case of pneumonic plague that was announced yesterday. He also stressed on current and additional measures being taken by the Ministry of Health to prevent this from spreading.
“According to our guidelines once someone tests positive for the plague we do contact tracing,” Dr Gedeon said speaking of surveillance that will continuously be done. “This involves getting in touch with everyone who has come into direct contact with the infected person.”
Everyone who had direct interaction with the infected person were immediately contacted. This includes his close family and friends. “There are 12 members of his close family who have been brought to the military academy in Perseverance to remain under active surveillance.” Additionally, other people have also been brought in for preventative treatment since the man attended a gathering upon his return to the country on Friday 6th October 2017. These people have been put on prophylactic treatment though none have having symptoms.
Dr Gedeon expressed his unhappiness that advices were ignored. “Sadly in this case the person did not follow the recommendations of health officers and he attended a public gathering on Friday at Chili Bar.” He is also reminding everyone who have travelled to Madagascar and have been placed on passive treatment by the Public Health Authority to remain at home until notified otherwise.
Several tests have been done on those who are admitted in isolation at the Seychelles Hospital. Since they do not have any cough and are not producing phlegm, the rapid test could not be performed. A blood sample has been taken and sent to L’Institut Pasteur in France for further tests.
The Ministry of Health currently does not have the means of performing blood test for plague. Addressing the National Assembly earlier today, the Minister for Health has confirmed that this equipment should be available in the country within two weeks to be used along with the precautionary measures in place.
New measures being implemented against pneumonic plague:
- Everyone entering Seychelles from Madagascar will immediately be referred to the Isolation centre in Perseverance.
- No foreigners coming to Seychelles from Madagascar will be granted entry. Only Seychelles citizens will be allowed to enter the country.
- A Travel Advisory has been issued, in collaboration with Seychelles Tourism Board requesting all transiting points (Mauritius, Kenya, and Reunion) to redirect all passengers who are not a citizen of Seychelles.
- Cargo ships will continue to be monitored as before. If anyone presents with symptoms within less than 7 days of leaving Madagascar, the ship will remain in isolation at sea. If anyone on board is sick, they will receive treatment.
- Cruise ships are advised to remain at sea for at least 7 days before entering the port after visiting Madagascar. If it is less than 7 days (incubation period) all passengers and crew will remain under surveillance for the recommended time before entering the country.
Dr Gedeon concluded by issuing further advices. Fisherman who continue to informally visit Madagascar are advised to cease this practice. If they have visited Madagascar they are also advised to come forward and be placed on treatment if necessary. Members of the public are advised not to panic as there is no outbreak within the country. They are additionally advised to remain updated with latest information that is correct.