Seychelles lifts Madagascar plague restrictions

(Seychelles News Agency) – The Seychelles national carrier — Air Seychelles — confirmed on Friday the resumption of flights to Madagascar’s capital, Antananarivo, as of January 12.

The recommencement of flights follows an announcement from the Public Health Authority that it is lifting a travel restriction to Madagascar after the World Health Organisation (WHO) has officially reported the plague outbreak in Madagascar to be contained earlier this week.

The Authority said that ships can enter the Seychelles port Victoria for normal activity without having to spend the seven days outside Madagascar and the national airline Air Seychelles can resume its flights. However, surveillance at the ports of entry, in laboratory and the health facilities are being maintained.

Air Seychelles suspended all flights to Madagascar in early October following guidance and a request from the Authority amid concerns that the plague could travel back to Seychelles.

Active preventive measures against the plague were taken in Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean, after a Seychellois basketball coach, Alix Allisop, died from the disease in October in a hospital in Antananarivo, the Malagasy capital.

The isolation facilities at the military training academy at Perseverance, a reclaimed island on the outskirts of Victoria, will be returned to the academy with immediate effect.

The Ministry of Health in Madagascar has officially announced the containment of the acute urban pneumonic plague outbreak on November 25. Since the outbreak started in August, 2,348 cases have been reported with 206 deaths – a case fatality rate of about 9 percent.

The plague is endemic in Madagascar and the season lasts from September to April. Given that, more cases of bubonic and sporadic pneumonic plague are expected to be reported through April.

WHO says it is important that certain surveillance measures continue through to the end of the plague season.


Author: Betymie Bonnelame
Published: 30 November 2017
Publication: Seychelles News Agency
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