Wednesday, March 01, 2006

REUNION ISLAND - Disease hits 20% on French island

Startling health news from the BBC about the island of Reunion.
A crippling disease in the Indian Ocean island of Reunion has affected 157,000 people, one in five of the population, in the past year, health officials say.

Chikungunya, Swahili for "that which bends up", causes high fever and severe pain but was not thought to be fatal.

However, the health minister of France, which rules the island, said this week 77 deaths may have been caused "directly or indirectly".
There have also been cases of chikungunya in Mauritius, the Seychelles and Madagascar.