French health minister visits overseas territory Mayotte after cholera death

France's health chief said Thursday that the response to the cholera epidemic on the country's Indian Ocean island of Mayotte has been "adequate" – a day after its first cholera-related death.

On a long-awaited visit to the island, French Health Minister Frederic Valletoux spoke with teams from the ARS health authority who are responsible for containing outbreaks as soon as a case is suspected.

"In the Comoros, the epidemic started a month and a half earlier, but today there are thousands of cases and almost 100 deaths," Valletoux said.

"We can see that the response in Mayotte is adequate," the minister added during a visit to the Kirson district of Koungou – where at least 50 cases of cholera have been reported to date.

On Wednesday, the disease claimed its first life on the island when a three-year-old girl from the commune of Koungou died.

Cholera is an infectious disease typically causing severe diarrhoea, vomiting and muscle cramps, which spreads easily under insufficient sanitation conditions.

Mayotte's imported cases have arrived mostly from the neighbouring Comoros, which has been battling a cholera epidemic since the start of the year.

On May 1, Valletoux said France sent 18 more doctors and nurses to Mayotte to join the reservists already working on the island to help tackle the outbreak.

Many migrants travel through the Comoros on their way to Mayotte from the Democratic Republic of Congo, itself facing a cholera epidemic that killed hundreds last year.

Read more on FRANCE 24 English

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