Chikungunya epidemic, a mosquito-borne disease for which there is no known cure or vaccine has claimed the lives of nearly 77 French inhabitants of La Reunion Island on Indian Ocean. As Nearly 1 in 6 inhabitants are affected in the island, announced Xavier Bertrand, French Health Minister.
More than 130, 000 people on the island have been affected. The 77 mortalities could be related directly or indirectly to the epidemic that occurred in January alone. The report of scientific studies stating that Chikungunya is not fatal has lead to the development of this critical situation.
The epidemic has also spread to other adjacent islands in the Indian Ocean (Seychelles and Mauritius). A number of people who have developed severe rashes and high fever are slowly recovering from the disease.
The mosquito disease was first reported in East Africa as early as 1952 and derives its name from Swahili that means 'stooped walk'. It refers to the characteristic posture of those afflicted with the disease.
The island attracts lot of travelers form Europe and yields a good amount of revenue. Despite the high incidence of the disease, the health minister has stated that travelers can visit the island. Use of certain products or other similar precautionary measures can prevent transmission of the disease.
The Tourism department has however reported some cancellations over the past few days. The health officials have urged the residents to remove any stagnant water and use bed nets, sprays and mosquito repellents in an attempt to take control of the present situation.