Addressing the National Assembly on Wednesday 11th October 2017, the Minister for Health Jean Paul Adam confirmed that all passengers arriving from Madagascar will be placed under active surveillance at the isolation centre at the Military Academy in Perseverance, before they are allowed entry into Seychelles.
Minister Adam was addressing the leader of the opposition, Hon. Wavel Ramkalawan’s questions on the current plague situation in Seychelles and if there has been any confirmed cases. With him was the Public Health Commissioner, Dr Jude Gedeon and the CEO of Health Care Agency, Dr Danny Louange.
Before confirming that indeed the first case of pneumonic plague was detected on the 10th October 2017, Minister Adam called on the members of the National Assembly to be more systematic in the dissemination of information. He asked them to take responsibility as a resident of Seychelles to share the correct information and not prompt panic. Additionally, he established that all necessary measures were taken to put the man confirmed to have been infected under isolation and to administer treatment.
“Everything has been done to follow the points of contact since the first case was confirmed, as well as those encountered since his return to Seychelles,” Minister Adam said.
“It is important that we differentiate between the two,” he added, referring to means of transmission of pneumonic plague.
Pneumonic plague is a severe lung infection caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis. Symptoms include fever, headache, shortness of breath, chest pain, and cough. These typically start about one to seven days after exposure. Someone suspected of infection with this type of plague cannot transmit this infection if they are not having any symptoms.
Minister Adam further emphasised on the measures being taken by the Ministry to prevent an outbreak within the country. Those who came on previous flights will remain under passive surveillance whereby a Public Health Officer will visit them daily. Also, those who present with symptoms and others who have had direct contact with an infected person will be put on prophylaxis. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health will continue to work with WHO and other health organisations to ensure that constant information is received and a means of definitive testing is made available in Seychelles.
Prior to addressing the National Assembly, Minister Adam accompanied by a team of Health Professionals visited the temporary isolation unit within the Seychelles Hospital to ensure all preparations are underway to move patients.