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October 28, 2019
The SANDRA TIDE, a Crew boat, used to supply oil rigs, left Douala October 21, 2019 for Pointe-Noire in Congo.
On 24 October 2019, the captain issued distress signals off Gabon’s coast, prompting the intervention of the maritime authorities to evacuate the ship’s Captain and his deputy who were in a critical health situation.
There were eight (8) crew members on board, including two (02) of Philippine nationality (the Captain and his deputy), five (05) of Cameroonian nationality and one (01) of Ghanaian nationality.
Upon notification by the Epidemiological Basis of the Maritime Health Region (Port-Gentil), in charge of health surveillance, the death of the ship’s captain and the hospitalization of his deputy in a coma in the ICU resuscitation ward. hospital, the Minister of Health convened a crisis unit in the presence of the Representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) on October 26, 2019, after which it was decided to dispatch the same day on Port-Gentil, a rapid response team.
Upon arrival, the latter joined the multi-sectoral crisis team set up by the Governor of the province of Ogooué Maritime.
From their initial evaluation, it appears that the index case occurred outside the community, which limits the spread of a possible infectious disease. The list of contact persons (medical staff and seafarers) who have approached the patients has been carefully established and daily monitoring is carried out.
The vessel was evacuated, disinfected, and other crew members were observed, three of whom (03) were finally hospitalized for various symptoms (hiccups, fatigue, diarrhea), but without no fever.
Samples of patients’ biological fluids, drinking water, sewage, food remains found on board the boat, as well as the swabbing of the air conditioning ducts were carried out. All these samples will be analyzed by the International Center for Medical Research of Franceville (CIRMF).
Following the inspection of the vessel, the foodstuffs and all the waste found on board were destroyed by a special unit of the hygiene and sanitation service, which also ensures incineration of personal protective equipment and all equipment used during various interventions requiring contact with patients.
This first report was released today, 28 October 2019, to a multisectoral platform in the presence of the WHO Representative. The representatives of the Merchant Navy, the Military Health Services, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Infectiologists and Biologists were present at this Crisis Staff.
Pending the results of the CIRMF, which alone will tell us the infectious origin or not of the troubles suffered by the crew of SANDRA TIDE, multisectoral coordination chaired by the Governor of the province of Ogooué Maritime, which we welcome the diligence, has control of the situation.
The following recommendations were made:
- strengthening epidemiological surveillance in all Port-Gentil health facilities;
- regular follow-up of all the contacts contacts listed;
- the rigorous application of personal protection measures by all health professionals in contact with patients;
- the urgent transportation by air (Helicopter) of the samples taken.
- Additional information will be provided as the situation evolves, particularly as soon as the results of the CIRMF analyzes reach us.