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1.  Investigation of a Sudden Malaria Outbreak in the Isolated Amazonian Village of Saül, French Guiana, January–April 2009 
Malaria is endemic in French Guiana. Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax are the predominant species responsible and Anopheles darlingi is described as the major vector. In mid-August 2008, an increase in malaria incidence was observed in Saül. A retrospective cohort survey was performed. In vitro susceptibility profiles to antimalarials were determined on P. falciparum isolates. Collections of mosquitoes were organized. The malaria attack rate reached 70.6/100. The risk of malaria increased for people between 40 and 49 years of age, living in a house not subjected to a recent indoor residual insecticide spraying or staying overnight in the surrounding forest. All isolates were susceptible. Anopheles darlingi females and larvae were collected in the village suggesting a local transmission. Our results strongly support a role of illegal mining activities in the emergence of new foci of malaria. Therefore, public health authorities should define policies to fight malaria at a transborder level.
doi:10.4269/ajtmh.2012.11-0582
PMCID: PMC3403779  PMID: 22492141
2.  First Human Rabies Case in French Guiana, 2008: Epidemiological Investigation and Control 
Background
Until 2008, human rabies had never been reported in French Guiana. On 28 May 2008, the French National Reference Center for Rabies (Institut Pasteur, Paris) confirmed the rabies diagnosis, based on hemi-nested polymerase chain reaction on skin biopsy and saliva specimens from a Guianan, who had never travelled overseas and died in Cayenne after presenting clinically typical meningoencephalitis.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Molecular typing of the virus identified a Lyssavirus (Rabies virus species), closely related to those circulating in hematophagous bats (mainly Desmodus rotundus) in Latin America. A multidisciplinary Crisis Unit was activated. Its objectives were to implement an epidemiological investigation and a veterinary survey, to provide control measures and establish a communications program. The origin of the contamination was not formally established, but was probably linked to a bat bite based on the virus type isolated. After confirming exposure of 90 persons, they were vaccinated against rabies: 42 from the case's entourage and 48 healthcare workers. To handle that emergence and the local population's increased demand to be vaccinated, a specific communications program was established using several media: television, newspaper, radio.
Conclusion/Significance
This episode, occurring in the context of a Department far from continental France, strongly affected the local population, healthcare workers and authorities, and the management team faced intense pressure. This observation confirms that the risk of contracting rabies in French Guiana is real, with consequences for population educational program, control measures, medical diagnosis and post-exposure prophylaxis.
Author Summary
Until 2008, rabies had never been described within the French Guianan human population. Emergence of the first case in May 2008 in this French Overseas Department represented a public health event that markedly affected the local population, healthcare workers and public health authorities. The antirabies clinic of French Guiana, located at Institut Pasteur de la Guyane, had to reorganize its functioning to handle the dramatically increased demand for vaccination. A rigorous epidemiological investigation and a veterinary study were conducted to identify the contamination source, probably linked to a bat bite, and the exposed population. Communication was a key factor to controlling this episode and changing the local perception of this formerly neglected disease. Because similar clinical cases had previously been described, without having been diagnosed, medical practices must be adapted and the rabies virus should be sought more systematically in similarly presenting cases. Sharing this experience could be useful for other countries that might someday have to manage such an emergence.
doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0001537
PMCID: PMC3283561  PMID: 22363830
3.  Value of syndromic surveillance within the Armed Forces for early warning during a dengue fever outbreak in French Guiana in 2006 
Background
A dengue fever outbreak occured in French Guiana in 2006. The objectives were to study the value of a syndromic surveillance system set up within the armed forces, compared to the traditional clinical surveillance system during this outbreak, to highlight issues involved in comparing military and civilian surveillance systems and to discuss the interest of syndromic surveillance for public health response.
Methods
Military syndromic surveillance allows the surveillance of suspected dengue fever cases among the 3,000 armed forces personnel. Within the same population, clinical surveillance uses several definition criteria for dengue fever cases, depending on the epidemiological situation. Civilian laboratory surveillance allows the surveillance of biologically confirmed cases, within the 200,000 inhabitants.
Results
It was shown that syndromic surveillance detected the dengue fever outbreak several weeks before clinical surveillance, allowing quick and effective enhancement of vector control within the armed forces. Syndromic surveillance was also found to have detected the outbreak before civilian laboratory surveillance.
Conclusion
Military syndromic surveillance allowed an early warning for this outbreak to be issued, enabling a quicker public health response by the armed forces. Civilian surveillance system has since introduced syndromic surveillance as part of its surveillance strategy. This should enable quicker public health responses in the future.
doi:10.1186/1472-6947-8-29
PMCID: PMC2459153  PMID: 18597694

Results 1-3 (3)