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Threat from Chikungunya, No Longer a Fear

Indian Ocean region was suffering from a crippling mosquito-borne virus disease the Chikungunya fever. It had infected some 150,000 people living in and around this area//. The World Health Organization (WHO) said that the tourists are safe when they are traveling to the Indian Ocean region.

This disease has no cure or vaccine. It is spreading like wild fire throughout the Reunion, Mauritius and Seychelles since January. The disease was first recognized in Tanzania in 1952. It is marked by high fever, severe rashes which are extremely painful but not fatal. Health experts say it can weaken the immune system, allowing other deadly diseases to set it.

Statistics show that about 1,298 confirmed cases and 4,706 suspected cases and authorities are awaiting test results in Mauritius. This is after the death of a 33-year-old man who is thought to have died from this disease.

While the neighboring French volcanic island of Reunion has reported 157,000 cases and 77 deaths linked to the virus.

WHO experts at the end of a three-day visit to Mauritius to assess efforts to control the outbreak told the news conference that there was no reason for visitors to be concerned. Pierre Formenty from the WHO said that both Mauritius and Reunion are safe places to travel.

Mauritius depends mainly on tourism for foreign revenue, with more than 700,000 tourists flocking to its white sand beaches every year, generating around $800 million annually. The government is investing in promoting its tourism industry to accelerate economic growth.

But due to this disease it is expected that the tour operators have seen cancellations. But surprisingly Mauritius says that tourism has not been affected but there was an increase of 18 % in tourist arrivals in January compared to last year.

Seychelles reported at least 1,000 cases in February and said the numbers of people infected with the disease have declined after heavy rains. D espite all this it has no impact on tourism.


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