The leptospirosis situation was discussed on the set of the show Au Cœur de l’Info. One of the recommendations made by the speakers is the establishment of a task force.

Leptospirosis is worrying in Mauritius. The establishment of a task force is requested by the speakers of the program Au Cœur de l'Info on Radio Plus and Télé Plus on Wednesday May 15, 2024. Journalist Anoop Dhookeeya welcomed Dr Dooshan Nuckchady, specialist, into the studio in infectious diseases at the Ministry of Health, and Harryduth Puttoo, Deputy Director of Public Health and Food Safety. Dr Shameem Jaumdally, virologist, as well as Dr Vasantrao Gujadhur, former director of health services, spoke via video conference and telephone respectively.

Harryduth Puttoo specifies that in all places where there have been cases, health checks have been carried out and actions have been taken. He then returned to the preventive measures taken. “Municipal and district councils have the responsibility to control the presence of rats in bazaars. Members of the public can inform their local health offices of the presence of rats. Unannounced checks are carried out by officers from the Ministry of Health,” he says.

Dr Dooshan Nuckchady explains that every year, cases of leptospirosis are recorded in Mauritius. “Currently, patients are between 30 and 65 years old. But it also happens to have patients in their twenties. Jobs are risk factors. Among the cases are masons, as well as agricultural workers who work in cane fields or who use river water to grow vegetables. There have also been cases of residents living near cane fields,” he says.

The doctor adds that many patients are asymptomatic and therefore go undetected. It details patient care. “Patients with mild cases go home and undergo treatment, including antibiotics. Severe cases require hospitalization. If a patient's kidneys are affected, they may be put on dialysis. The organs most affected are the lungs, kidneys and liver. We have had cases of temporary paralysis which improved over time. These are rare complications,” he maintains, adding that leptospirosis is rarely transmitted between humans.

Dr. Shameem Jaumdally says the number of deaths is a sign that there are many more cases than have been detected. He explains this situation by the fact that the symptoms are those of other infections. “We need an awareness and communication exercise. It is largely up to the population to take their responsibilities so as not to encourage the proliferation of rats,” he says. Dr Shameem Jaumdally recommends that a large study be carried out on leptospirosis in Mauritius and that a task force be set up.

Dr Vasantrao Gujadhur maintains that on average 45 cases are recorded in Mauritius each year. However, since January 2024, 28 cases have already been recorded, including five deaths. He also notes that many cases occurred after the floods last March. “Normally, the rate of severe cases is 10%. And among these severe cases, the mortality rate is 10%. We are, in my opinion, in a case of emergency. The Ministry of Health must set up a task force chaired by the minister himself. The Ministry of Health must not work in isolation, each ministry has its role to play,” he maintains. It also calls for strict controls in risk areas by health inspectors.

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