Health monitoring during water scarcity in Mayotte, France, 2017

Publié le 12 Mars 2019
Mis à jour le 05 juillet 2019

Background: during the 2016-2017 austral summer, unprecedented water scarcity was observed in the south of Mayotte, French island in the Indian Ocean. Therefore, authorities introduced restrictive measures to save the water of this part of the island. The rationing system affected over 65,000 people, for four months. In order to detect a possible deterioration of the health situation, a strengthened epidemiological surveillance system was set up. Methods: surveillance focused on intestinal and skin diseases, which are often associated with a lack of hygiene or poor-quality drinking and bathing water. Three pathologies were monitored: acute diarrhoea, acute gastroenteritis and skin diseases and also, proportion of antidiarrhoeal and rehydration solutions sales in pharmacies. Cases of leptospirosis were also under surveillance. The analyses consisted of comparing the collected data according to the areas that were either affected or not affected by the water restrictions. Comparisons with historical data were also made. Results: although none of the surveillance systems were able to demonstrate any impact on skin diseases, they revealed a very sharp increase in the proportion of consultations for acute diarrhoea and gastro-enteritis in the southern area. This was corroborated by a high increase in the sales of antidiarrhoeals and oral rehydration solutions via the sentinel pharmacists in the south of the island compared with those of the north. Comparison with historical data highlighted the occurrence of an unusual situation. Conclusion: these water restrictions caused a real deterioration in the health status of the inhabitants who were deprived of water.

Auteur : Subiros Marion, Brottet Elise, Solet Jean-Louis, LeGuen Armelle, Filleul Laurent
BMC Public Health, 2019, vol. 19, n°. 1, p. 1-10