COVID-19 outbreak in Mauritania: epidemiology and health system response

  • Mohamed Lemine Cheikh Brahim Ahmed Research Unit in Epidemiology and Diversity of Microorganisms, Department of Biology, University of Nouakchott Al Aasriya, Nouakchott, Mauritania
  • Sidi Zehaf Department of Public Health, Ministry of Health, Nouakchott, Mauritania
  • Mohamed Mahmoud El Alem Department of Biology, University Mohammed V, Rabat, Morocco
  • Ahmed Elbara Laboratory of Virology, National Institute of Research on Public Health, Ministry of Health, Nouakchott, Mauritania
  • Mohamed Mahmoud Ely Mahmoud Department of Public Health, Ministry of Health, Nouakchott, Mauritania
  • Mohamed Val Mohamed Abdellahi Research Unit in Epidemiology and Diversity of Microorganisms, Department of Biology, University of Nouakchott Al Aasriya, Nouakchott, Mauritania
  • Jorg Heukelbach Postgraduate Course in Public Health, School of Medicine, Federal University of Ceará, Fortaleza, Brazil
Keywords: COVID-19, epidemiology, health system response, Mauritania, Africa

Abstract

Introduction: In Africa, the first case of COVID-19 was reported in February 2020. Mauritania’s first case was confirmed in March 2020.

Methodology: We provide an update of the COVID-19 epidemic in Mauritania as of December 2020, and describe the country’s Health System Response.

Results: In total, 133,749 diagnostic tests were performed, 14,364 (10.7%) were positive (309 cases/100,000 inhabitants). Case fatality rate was 2.4%. The 20-39 year-olds (41%) and males (59.1%) were most commonly affected. Comorbidities among fatal cases included cardiovascular diseases (44.8%) and diabetes (37.1%). Clinical symptoms included fever (57%), cough (52%), running nose (47%) and headache (26%). After the first case, prevention measures were progressively tightened, and quarantine implemented for all suspected cases. Schools and universities were closed, and flights to Mauritania suspended. Restaurants and cafeterias were closed, and night curfews installed. Friday prayers were suspended nationwide, and movements between regions restricted. These measures helped to contain the spread of SARS-CoV-2 during the first pandemic wave, which peaked in June 2020 with low rates. However, the number of daily cases reached high levels in December 2020, during the second wave (40.1% of all cases and 48.9% of deaths). During the first wave, there were 38 ICU beds nationwide, but the ICU’s capacity increased in short time.

Conclusions: Mauritania has passed through the first pandemic wave with relatively low case fatality rates, currently being at the end of the second wave. As the country’s health system is very vulnerable, there is a need for strict public health measures during epidemics.

Published
2021-08-31
How to Cite
1.
Ahmed MLCB, Zehaf S, El Alem MM, Elbara A, Ely Mahmoud MM, Mohamed Abdellahi MV, Heukelbach J (2021) COVID-19 outbreak in Mauritania: epidemiology and health system response. J Infect Dev Ctries 15:1048-1053. doi: 10.3855/jidc.15016
Section
Coronavirus Pandemic