WHO sends team to chikungunya-hit Reunion

21st February 2006, Comments 0 comments

GENEVA, Feb 21, 2006 (AFP) - The World Health Organisation said Tuesday that it was sending experts to the Indian Ocean island of Réunion and neighbouring countries to help tackle the raging mosquito-borne chikungunya disease.

GENEVA, Feb 21, 2006 (AFP) - The World Health Organisation said Tuesday that it was sending experts to the Indian Ocean island of Réunion and neighbouring countries to help tackle the raging mosquito-borne chikungunya disease.

"A WHO team is leaving tomorrow for Reunion, where they'll stay for several days, then to Mauritius, Madagascar and the Seychelles," said Fadela Chaib, spokeswoman for the UN health agency.

The experts will take stock of national efforts to fight the disease, which causes crippling joint pain.

Chikungunya has hit 110,000 people on the French island of Réunion, or more than one in eight of the population, and authorities there are battling to eradicate the mosquitoes that transmit the virus.

More than a thousand people have also been affected in the Seychelles and several hundred in Mauritius.

During its two-week mission, the WHO team also aims to help set up a regional surveillance system to keep tabs on the disease across the Indian Ocean, Chaib told reporters.

Chikungunya — a Swahili word meaning "that which bends up" — can cause painful swelling of body joints, leaving victims stooped and limiting their movements. Symptoms eventually disappear over time. There is no vaccine.

Although not known to be fatal, the disease has been linked to the deaths of 52 people on Réunion, according to French officials.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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