Seychelles steps up preventative measures against Madagascar Plague outbreak

passenger screening
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The Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Port and Marine together with the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) have announced that a decision has been taken to restrict the entry into the country of travellers from Madagascar.

The decision is at the request of the Public Health Authority and is a preventive measure due to the heightened risk of the introduction into Seychelles of the pneumonic plague, which is currently ravaging Madagascar.

The Seychelles’ Health Ministry has confirmed that the country detected its first and only case of the pneumonic plague on 10 October.

The patient is a Seychellois man who came back from Madagascar on an Air Seychelles flight on 6 October. After the man started to develop symptoms, including fever, he tested positive for the pneumonic plague. Official confirmation tests are being conducted on the man’s blood samples at the Pasteur Institute in France.

The Seychelles authorities have been on high alert ever since it was confirmed that a Seychellois basketball coach died in a hospital in Madagascar last month after contracting the disease.

Both the Tourism Ministry and STB would like to reiterate that all travellers currently holidaying in Seychelles are free to enjoy their holiday and that the restriction to enter the country is only targeting travellers entering Seychelles from Madagascar.

The Seychelles’ health authorities are also working with tour operators to discourage Seychelles’ residents from travelling to Madagascar. People who have been to the neighbouring Indian Ocean island within the last seven days have already been put under surveillance and are being followed by health officials in a systematic manner.

Both the Tourism Ministry and STB are counting on all airlines flying to Seychelles to cooperate and refrain from boarding any travellers coming to Seychelles from Madagascar for the moment. Any traveller who arrives in Seychelles from Madagascar will be given the option to go back immediately or face a six-day stay at an isolation centre.

The isolation centre, located at the Seychelles Coast Guard military academy, is ready to welcome all incoming passengers (visitors and residents) who arrive in Seychelles from Madagascar via other destinations, as the national airline, Air Seychelles has already cancelled its direct flights to Madagascar over the weekend, at the request of the public health authority.

It has been emphasised that so far only one case of the pneumonic plague has been confirmed in Seychelles. The person in question has been admitted at the Seychelles hospital and is receiving antibiotics, more precisely prophylaxis. He is responding well to the treatment. The Ministry of Health is following up with all people who may have had contact with the infected person.