Date: Tue 10 Oct 2017 2:23 PM SCT
Source: eTurbo News [edited]
<https://eturbonews.com/167377/plague-spreading-madagascar-seychelles>

Health officials in Seychelles have confirmed that 3 people have tested positive for plague. According to Today in Seychelles, a Seychellois basketball coach died from the disease in September 2017 in a hospital in Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar, where 42 people have died from the "Black Death." The coach was assisting the Seychelles men's reigning champion of the Beau Vallon Heat in Madagascar during the Indian Ocean Club Championship.

The government of Madagascar over the weekend [7-8 Oct 2017] confirmed that the death was due to the pneumonic plague. The other members of the Seychellois basketball delegation, who were in close contact with [the coach], have been under observation since they returned to the country, [Jude Gedeon, Seychelles' public health commissioner] said. They are now at the military academy at Perseverance, a reclaimed island on the outskirts of Victoria.

According to the Seychelles News Agency, the Seychelles' Ministry of Health on [Wed 3 Oct 2017] advised all airlines and travel agents to discourage people from traveling to Madagascar due to the plague outbreak. Additional health measures at Seychelles' main airport have also been put in place. Gedeon said that officials have put in place walk-through and temperature scanners at the international airport to detect cases.

A form is also being given to disembarked passengers to state if they have any symptoms similar to those brought on by the plague. Additionally, as a precaution, all schools in Seychelles are closed for the next 6 days as it is not yet confirmed that contact was made with any of the teachers.
====================
[This report claims that 3 individuals in the Seychelles have tested positive for _Yersinia pestis_.

Yesterday's posting (Plague - Seychelles: ex Madagascar, RFI http://promedmail.org/post/20171010.5371382) reported on an imported case of plague (from Madagascar) as well as an ill contact. It is not clear if the contact had been in Madagascar.

ProMED would appreciate more information in this regard. The Seychelles Ministry of Health has denied that other cases existed on its Facebook page (<https://www.facebook.com/mohseychellesofficial/posts/747073488827118>). The Ministry of Health did confirm that the case imported from Madagascar was pneumonic plague.

Seychelles, officially the Republic of Seychelles, is an archipelago and country in the Indian Ocean. The 115-island country, whose capital is Victoria, lies 1500 km (approx 932 mi) east of mainland East Africa. Other nearby island countries and territories include Comoros, Mayotte (region of France), Madagascar, Reunion (region of France), and Mauritius to the south. With a population of roughly 94 228, it has the smallest population of any sovereign African country.

A map showing the location of Seychelles and Madagascar can be seen at
<http://i.huffpost.com/gen/276402/SEYCHELLES-MAP.jpg>. - ProMED Mod.LL]

[A HealthMap/ProMED-mail map can be accessed at: <http://healthmap.org/promed/p/183>.]
Date: Tue 10 Oct 2017
Source: Seychelles Ministry of Health, Facebook post [edited]
<https://www.facebook.com/mohseychellesofficial/posts/747073488827118>

Man tests positive for plague following presentation of symptoms
----------------------------------------------------------------
In interview today [Tue 10 Oct 2017], Dr Jude Gedeon, Public Health Commissioner confirmed that a 34 year old man has been infected with the plague.

The man who travelled to Madagascar, arrived in Seychelles on [Fri 6 Oct 2017], at which point he was placed under passive surveillance. "He presented with symptoms yesterday, [Mon 9 Oct 2017]. He was not feeling well and reported to a health centre. Because he was under surveillance, he was immediately put in isolation at the Seychelles Hospital," Dr Gedeon said. Several tests were done, some of which had normal results. "We also conducted a rapid plague test which produced a weakly positive result," Dr Gedeon added.

Following this, the result was sent to L'institut Pasteur in France for cross-checking, at which point it was confirmed to be a positive plague result. The man has been immediately given antimicrobial treatment and all people who came into direct contact with him have also been put under active surveillance.

These include his partner who also presented with symptoms today [Tue 10 Oct 2017], but has not been confirmed to be infected, and a child who resides with them. Dr Gedeon has reassured that there is no reason to panic and that the Public Health Authority is continuing to enforce measures to prevent an outbreak within the country. "We continue to monitor passengers who enter the country from Madagascar.

There are currently 42 people who are under passive surveillance," he stated. Moreover, 15 people who have been identified to have come into contact with the man have also been put on antimicrobial treatment to prevent infection. "Plague can easily be treated with antimicrobials when detected early. And, our objective is to have early diagnosis and identification of points of contact, so we can administer treatment early," Dr Gedeon further added with regards to strategies being implemented by the Ministry of Health.

At the moment, Air Seychelles has cancelled all flights to and from Madagascar as a further preventative measure. All members of the basketball delegation who were put under active surveillance at a centre have also been discharged following no presentation of symptoms.
Eurosurveillance, Volume 22, Issue 26, 29 June 2017
Rapid communication
Full article available at: http://www.eurosurveillance.org/ViewArticle.aspx?ArticleId=22826
An outbreak of dengue virus (DENV) type 2 Cosmopolitan genotype in Israeli travellers returning from the Seychelles, April 2017
Y Lustig, D Wolf, O Halutz, E Schwartz

Dengue virus infection was diagnosed in six Israeli travellers returning from the Seychelles in April 2017. Phylogenetic analysis identified identical sequences belonging to the Cosmopolitan genotype of dengue virus type 2 in all samples sequenced, thus providing evidence for a probable dengue type 2 outbreak in the Seychelles. This report further demonstrates the role of travellers as sentinels for arboviral infections, especially in countries with limited diagnostic capabilities.

Because of the high number of mosquito species and especially the abundance of Aedes albopictus mosquitoes [1], the Seychelles remain under the threat of outbreaks, particularly arboviruses [2]. However, only limited data are available on the types and molecular characteristics of arboviruses circulating in the region. In this report we investigated an outbreak of dengue virus (DENV) infection in six Israeli travellers returning from the Seychelles, a popular tourist destination located in the Indian ocean east of the East African coast with a population of roughly 90,000 inhabitants.

Dengue diagnosis in Israeli travellers
Nine Israeli citizens who had travelled to the Seychelles islands reported a febrile illness which started 1–2 days after returning to Israel. They were part of a group of 32 travellers visiting a different island every day between 13 and 22 April 2017. The islands visited, in consecutive order, were: Mahe, Curieuse, Aride, Praslin, La Digue and Moyenne.

In six of the febrile travellers, dengue fever was confirmed, in four of them by both quantitative (q) RT-PCR [3] or PCR [4] and DENV IgM and IgG antibody capture ELISA (Panbio, Brisbane, Australia), in one only by qRT-PCR, and in one only by positive dengue virus NS1 antigen (Panbio, Brisbane, Australia) and IgM and IgG serology (Table). Since DENV RNA in serum can only be detected for a short time after symptom onset [5-8], DENV RNA in urine and whole blood was tested for samples obtained more than 10 days post symptom onset (Table). qRT-PCR of DENV-1–4 [3] or PCR [4] demonstrated that all five PCR-positve cases had DENV type 2. The remaining three febrile patients did not present to our clinics and therefore were not tested for dengue.

Date: Tue 30 May 2017
Source: From: Patricia Schlagenhauf <patricia.schlagenhauf@uzh.ch>,
David Hamer <dhamer@bu.edu> [edited]

Eli Schwarz from the GeoSentinel Tel Hashomer site in Israel has alerted us to a number of cases of dengue fever in Israeli travellers returning from a group tour to the Seychelles islands during the period April 13 to 22 2017. The group included 32 travellers and each day they visited a different island. The islands visited, in consecutive order, were: Mahe, Curieuse, Aride, Praslin, La digue and Moyenne.

Febrile illness started 1-2 days after return to Israel in 9 of the travellers. In 6 of the febrile travellers DF was confirmed, in 4 by PCR and in the other 2 only by positive IgM serology. The other 3 were not tested for dengue. The PCR positive cases were all DENV-2.

Laboratory workup was done by Dr Yaniv Lustig at Central Virology Laboratory, Israel Ministry of Health, Chaim Sheba Medical Center and by Prof Dana Wolf at Hadassah Medical center, Jerusalem Israel.

Apart from the above-mentioned Israeli cases, only one recent case in the GeoSentinel database, from December 2016, was acquired in the Seychelles. This cluster of cases may signal an outbreak or increased dengue fever activity on these islands. Intending travellers should be advised to adhere to effective measures against mosquito bites during the daytime and early evening.
--------------------------------------
David Hamer
(PI GeoSentinel)
<dhamer@bu.edu>

Patricia Schlagenhauf
(Chair: GeoSentinel Tracking and Communications)
<patricia.schlagenhauf@uzh.ch>

Kayce Maisel
Project Coordinator
International Society of Travel Medicine
Dunwoody GA United States
KMaisel@istm.org
======================
[A large outbreak of dengue was reported in Seychelles in May 2016 as well
[<https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=7&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwj3ibrVpprUAhUDQBoKHZpwA_8QFghWMAY&url=http%3A%2F%2Fadore.ifrc.org%2FDownload.
aspx%3FFileId%3D133523&usg=AFQjCNFreuZf7UrNKuOL4TbmG7VNd8FigQ&sig2=7mUu0E3h5JDjlMVb_x46Qg>]
According to the Ministry of Health, from Jan 2016 to 10 Jun 2016, 388 people tested positive for dengue, with 85 per cent of the cases being under 40 years of age. Dengue vector mosquito Aedes Aegypti has been reported from the islands and outbreaks are reported mainly during the rainy season  [<http://www.health.gov.sc/wp-content/uploads/Dengue-Update_100616.pdf>].

In Seychelles there is high incidence of leptospirosis, now with dengue in circulation and the perfect climatic conditions for both diseases, patients presenting with dengue-like illness having high fever, muscular pain, headache or rash can be a challenging clinical diagnosis for treating physicians. Due to the strong similarity in clinical presentation and epidemiology between dengue and leptospirosis and reported occurrence of dual infections, it is advisable in patients presenting with acute febrile illness consistent with dengue-like illness to be evaluated for both dengue and leptospirosis, which could be a differential diagnosis in the negative cases from the above report.

The confirmation of dengue infections in the travellers to Seychelles emphasizes the need for travel advice to ensure public education and timely protective measures. - ProMED Mod.UBA]

[A HealthMap/ProMED-mail map can be accessed at:
<http://healthmap.org/promed/p/183>,
<http://healthmap.org/promed/p/90>.]
Date: Sun, 23 Nov 2014 05:38:46 +0100 (MET)
by Rassin VANNIER

VICTORIA, Seychelles, Nov 23, 2014 (AFP) - Under cover of darkness in the steamy jungles of the Seychelles thieves creep out to harvest the sizeable and valuable nuts of the famous coco de mer palm, but their activities are threatening its long-term survival.   Nicknamed "coco bottom" on the Indian Ocean archipelago for its curves like a woman's buttocks, some 40 of the giant nuts have been stolen since the beginning of the year on the island of Praslin.

The trees survive, but slashing with knives means the rare palms produce fewer fruit each year, while the seeds themselves are taken off for sale rather than producing new plants.   It is a worrying problem for the Seychelles, which features the coco de mer on its coat of arms. Conservationists fear the illegal trade threatens the future of nut, the biggest in the world and endemic to just two of the country's islands.   "Shock and horror," the headline of a Seychelles news agency story read after a raid last month in which 10 nuts were stolen.

With some 17,000 trees counted on Praslin and 10,000 on neighbouring Curieuse island, the tree is now on the warning "red list" of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, IUCN.   It says numbers have dropped by almost a third within three generations of trees, warning the harvesting and illegal sale of the nuts poses a significant threat.   "Before we'd see about 75 coconuts on a tree, now there are just 25," said Victorin Laboudallon of the Seychelles Islands Foundation (SIF), which helps conserve the palm-filled Vallee de Mai national park, a UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site.   "Trees do not give as much fruit as before when a coconut is cut."

- Alleged aphrodisiac -
The nut is a fertility symbol for some and in Asia, particularly in China, it has a reputation as an alleged aphrodisiac.   Thousands of tourists who visit the white sand beaches of the Seychelles eye them as ornaments.   Britain's Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge were given a nut by the government at the end of their honeymoon on the Seychelles in 2011.   Protected by law, nuts can only be taken out of the country in accordance with strict regulations.

A nut, which can weigh as much as 35 kilogrammes (77 pounds), can reportedly sell for as much as $450 per kilogramme ($202 a pound) on the black market, meaning a single nut can sell for thousands of dollars.   In an attempt to curb the thefts and protect the 19 hectares (47 acres) of forest where the palms are found SIF has boosted the number of guards, but the rugged terrain and lack of fences complicate that task.   The bizarre "double" nut has an ancient history: traded far from the archipelago to the Middle East, Asia and Europe, earning legends of its healing powers.

For centuries, its origin was a mystery: nuts were found only adrift at sea or washed up on the white sand beaches of the Indian Ocean. Never having been seen growing on land, sailors thought that they came from the sea bed itself - giving the name, the "coconut of the sea".   Demand grew after the country's independence from Britain in 1976 and the boom in its tourism industry, said Laboudallon.   The government was forced to step in to control the trade, with the legal export of nuts highly regulated and only four companies having a licence to sell.   But the illegal smuggling continues.   Laboudallon fears the tree could suffer the same fate as the Dodo, the extinct bird that disappeared nearly 400 years ago on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius.

The environment ministry insists they are in control of the situation, installing x-ray machines at the airport to scan for the nut, said top official Ronley Fanchet.   But environmental activists were shocked when a recent culinary festival, organised by the culture ministry, featured the famous nut.   For the first time, coco de mer dishes -- including ice cream, pies and bread -- were available for tasting at the one-off festival.   Defenders of the fruit warned that could create a new demand that would put the nuts under even greater pressure.   "If tomorrow there are menus with coco de mer in all restaurants, what do we do?" said SIF chief Frauke Dogley.   "It is not the one-off use of the kernel which is the issue here, but creating a demand, where the side-effects have the full potential to lead to an unsustainable exploitation."
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