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Med Trop (Mars). 2012 Mar;72 Spec No:32-7.

[Critical analysis of requirements for scientific assessment as a basis for good governance: case of the chikungunya epidemic on Reunion Island and Mayotte in 2005 and 2006].

[Article in French]

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  • 1MCF-HDR en droit public, Université de La Réunion, 15, Avenue René Cassin, BP 7151, 97 715 Saint Denis Message CEDEX 9.


The constitutional precautionary principle as applied in laws governing health care at the community level requires rigorous scientific assessment. The goal of this assessment is to provide authorities with sound evidence as a basis for implementing precautionary measures in function of degree of risk and other parameters such as the level of public health protection that is high in the EU. As the political authority, the government can act independently of conclusions issued by scientific commissions provided that the commission's level of expertise meets national and European standards and that research methodology and findings are consistent with scientific data published in the international literature. These requirements were not meet for the chikungunya pandemic that struck France on Reunion Island and Mayotte from 2004 to 2006. This epidemic that was preceded by many outbreaks in Indonesia between 2001 and 2003 began in Africa and then swept across the Indian Ocean to India and Asia. After an overview of the scientific assessment, this article raises arguments supporting possible allegations of gross misgovernance by the state and experts.

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