Contributed by Damien Gruson, IFCC News Working Group
The French island "�le de la R�union", close to Madagascar and Africa, is one of the most attractive French island for tourism. The R�union Island is characterized by a large diversity of landscapes and the happiness of the R�union citizen. From this point of view, R�union Island is a "dreamland".
However, the screenplay running in this island for over a year is a real nightmare for the island citizen, economy and for the local health system. A virus, transmitted by mosquitoes, infects people and causes a disease called "Chikungunya". This disease is characterized by intense weakness, important fever and motor troubles. Elderly people and children are the most sensitive populations to the virus. Chikungunya was first described in Uganda in 1953 and an important epidemic episode was first reported in Vellore (India) in 1964. Since 1990, the frequency of Chikungunya epidemic episodes is increasing in the world.
Actually, the rate of new cases per week is about 3,000 and 241,000 (30% of the overall island population) have been infected since February 2005. Since the beginning of 2006, 189 deaths have been directly linked to Chikungunya. Economically, 500,000 euros have been injected into local economy to help the island but by March 2006 the flight rotations between France and the island had decreased by 30%. Two thousand six hundred (2,600) civilians and military have been mobilized for the fight against mosquitoes.
My brother's wife is from the R�union Island, so this article is an opportunity to underline the courage of the citizens of the beautiful R�union Island.