Friday, "Le Monde" published a report by the WHO into the handling of the Chikungunya epidemic on Reunion. This is strange in that it has yet to be made public, but then, some of us are more public than others. Whatever, it doesn't make that interesting a read and its recommendations could be put forward by anyone over a glass of beer and a packet of crisps. All we need is what was called in my old seafaring days as a bit of "common dog". For example it points out that diurnal mosquitos are not usually about between one and four in the morning when the mossie busters are about spraying willy nilly. The weekend before last I was returning from a delightful "soirée" with my friends to be confronted on the road by a 4x4 awash to the gun'ales in pesticide. One week and a bit later there are no mossies and my week long asthma attack was in no way linked to the toxic fog which enveloped the neighbourhood in the wee hours.
However, the report did comment on the perseverance of the health and allied workers and the remarkable way in which statistics et al were gathered and how the great administration performed well even if it was not well co-ordinated. No doubt come the next epidemic we shall have plenty of statistics and lots of brochures just as long as there are enough victims.
Not surprisingly the report also focused on the fact that the epidemic was often seen to be the fault of the poor as is all too often the case the world over :
The poor "were stigmatized by certain sections with the population" and were shown "to generate diseases like chikungunya" .
I quite like the way it is all in the past tense as though it is all but over! Nay, the trend is down but there were still approx. 8000 new cases the week before last.
Latest figures released by the "Institute de Veille Sanitaire" indicate that some 236,00 people have been infected and there have been 181 chik related deaths since the beginning of the year. Figures relating to other parts of the Indian Ocean can also be found here.