2002 - Influenza in Madagascar - Update 6
30 August 2002
Disease Outbreak Reported
The international team from the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network assisting the Ministry of Health provided a preliminary report of their findings and recommendations to the Ministry of Health on 29 August.
Summary: An epidemic of influenza was attributed to influenza A/Panama/2007/99like (H3N2) viruses that impacted the populations of the highlands region of Fianarantsoa Province. This is the same strain that was associated with influenza epidemics worldwide during 2001-02. The most affected area of the province was Ikongo district. The observed increase in excess mortality compared to previous years appeared to be due to widespread transmission and not an especially virulent influenza strain. Most deaths occurred outside of health facilities and disproportionately affected young children. Seasonal epidemics of influenza that have been documented in Antananarivo most likely also affect the highlands region of Fianarantsoa Province each winter, resulting in morbidity and mortality.
Among the recommendations are: expanding the influenza sentinel surveillance system and implementing a standard case definition for influenza-like illness; improving case management and training for health care providers; and providing health education activities to inform the public about influenza and the need for those at high risk (young children,the elderly and those with chronic illness) to seek medical care if experiencing acute respiratory illness.