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Toddler dies as Mayotte, France tries to contain cholera epidemic

Toddler dies as Mayotte, France tries to contain cholera epidemic

A three-year-old boy has become the first person to die in a cholera epidemic that has gripped the French overseas department of Mayotte since March. Health Minister Frédéric Valletoux traveled to the island on Thursday to meet with local health authorities.

Mayotte has suffered an outbreak of the disease, which was first detected in migrants from the Democratic Republic of Congo who had traveled through the neighboring Comoros islands.

Since mid-March, 58 cases have been identified.

The first fatality was a boy living in the city of Koungou, the second largest after the capital Mamoudzou.

Valletoux will visit Koungou and local hospitals during his two-day trip, which would also be dedicated to prevention and cooperation between healthcare providers, according to the Ministry of Health.

The Minister of Overseas Territories, Marie Guévenoux, is also expected on the island.

Overpopulation, poverty

Overcrowding and poverty have led to dangerous sanitary conditions in Mayotte, France’s poorest department.

Mortality is higher among children, the elderly and vulnerable people.

The Indian Ocean island is also suffering from a water crisis, leading to the consumption of unclean and possibly contaminated water.

Last week, France announced the arrival of 18 new reservist doctors and nurses to strengthen it – in addition to the 49 reservists already present.

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