madagascar plagueSince August 1 to October 30, a total of 1 801 suspected cases of plague, including 127 deaths, have been reported in Madagascar. Tourism ministers of Indian Ocean countries met at the sidelines of the World Travel Market in London. Ministers recalled that all countries are taking the measures recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), and expressed their confidence that these are going on the right direction.

The Minister of Tourism of Madagascar, Roland Ratsiraka, the Minister of Tourism of Mauritius, Anil Kumarsingh Gayan, SC and the Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine of the Seychelles, Maurice Loustau-Lalanne met at the sidelines of the World Travel Market in London to express a common message of confidence on the measures being taken by Madagascar to overcome the plague outbreak.

The meeting was convened and chaired by UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, in the presence of the Permanent Secretary of Kenya Mrs. Fatuma HirsiI Mohamed, representing the chair of the UNWTO Commission for Africa, Minister Najib Balala.

UNWTO Secretary-General recalled that WHO does not recommend any travel bans on Madagascar and that “based on the available information to date, the risk of international spread of plague appears very low”.

South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases’ Professor John Frean said, The average tourist or businessperson is unlikely to be at much risk. Travellers from Madagascar are far more likely to contract malaria or gastroenteritis. And there has been no confirmed cases of plague in travellers leaving Madagascar to other countries."