Effectiveness of the control measures taken to prevent dengue fever in Mauritius

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INTRODUCTION

Mauritius is a small tropical island located at latitude 20ø 18′ 0 S and longitude 57ø 34′ 60 E. It has a tropical climatic condition. Mauritius has an area of about 2,040 sq km and is located to about 2000 kilometers from east west of Africa and some 800 kilometers from Madagascar. The positioning of Mauritius makes the latter a tropical country with moderately lofty temperature throughout the year. Winter and summer are the seasons that manifest onto the island. The island of Mauritius finds itself as one of the most accessible islands in the Indian Ocean. Situated amid R‚union island and Rodrigues island, the island of Mauritius has gained the reputation, through the course of time of that of the ‘key and star’ of the Indian Ocean. The Mauritian population estimates for the year 2008 was about 1, 260, 781 with an annual growth rate of 0.7 %. Since the country is undergoing major developmental changes many industries have implanted here and thus the number of expatriates in the country is on the rise. These people may be a carrier of the disease and of course those Mauritians visiting the dengue endemic areas can also become infected and bring the disease in the country. It is an indisputable fact that during the lapsed decades, Mauritius has witnessed a multitude of diseases. The most prominent and recent one being Chikungunya which has infested merely about 12000 Mauritians. Furthermore, the history of diseases in Mauritius is marked with Malaria epidemics since colonial regimes and through the intensive effort of the Public Health sector, the latter has been proclaimed eradicated by the World Health Organization in 1973. Some years ago many of the realm’s citizens were not aware of what was dengue fever even though it had already occurred in the country but there was not mass infection by the virus. Providentially, the number of cases reported beforehand was only one or two and through the close collaboration between the Ministry Of Health and the infected person the situation was under control and hence no further positive case of dengue were recorded. The Mauritian government is putting forward all steps to prevent an epidemic rather than to rush for controlling it when it has already hit the population. The Ministry of Health is working on a list which highlights all water retaining sites and is identifying the hotspots of such sites that are liable to cause proliferation of mosquitoes; this process is carried out each year. Furthermore, an action plan is being prepared by the ministry which gives a layout of which and what job is to be done by which section of the ministry or other stakeholders (anonymous, 2009). Dengue viruses are transmitted by the Aedes species. Two known species the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus are vectors of the disease. The Aedes albopictus can be found in large quantity all around the island whereas Aedes aegypti is said to be eradicated from the country. Surveillance on the abundance of mosquitoes is carried out by the entomological section throughout the year.

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