VICHY, France — French health authorities are stepping up their efforts to help its citizens cope with a massive outbreak of chytrid pneumonia that has claimed nearly 1,000 lives and infected more than 2,000 others.
Officials have launched a nationwide campaign to try to prevent the spread of the virus and have also begun distributing masks to residents of remote regions.
The country’s health authorities said Wednesday that it had dispatched 3,600 masks to communities where chyphovirus cases are highest.
“The purpose is to ensure that there are not new cases of the disease in these communities, which will prevent further spread,” said an official at the Health Ministry.
Meanwhile, a French newspaper reported Wednesday that a small village near Vichy had been the first to become infected, prompting authorities to call for more precautions to be taken.
In addition, the French government has set up a fund for people living in remote regions who are not able to afford expensive medical care.
The health ministry said that in the next few weeks, it will distribute 200 masks and distribute 400 blankets in a bid to prevent further infections.
This is the second time France has been hit with chychovirus in less than a month.
Last month, authorities in the eastern French region of Normandy reported an outbreak of the same virus, which has spread across the region and infected at least 2,400 people.
On Monday, authorities said that an outbreak in the southeastern town of Cazeneuve was caused by the virus.
It said that the French Embassy in Geneva had been alerted to the outbreak and was working with local authorities.
Since last month, at least 6,000 people have died in France.
A total of 7.2 million cases of chilovirus have been reported since the outbreak started, according to data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).