Suspected Chikungunya Probed
Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Kiran Kumar, is confirming that a blood sample was sent on 25 June 2014 to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) in Trinidad to test for chikungunya and dengue. The sample was drawn after a resident, who travelled to one of the countries where there is an outbreak, has presented with symptoms consistent with chikungunya.
“The CARPHA has been notified and we are advised that they will prioritise this case and will revert with the results as a matter of urgency”, said Dr. Kumar.
As at 23 June, cases of chikungunya have been confirmed in 24 countries/territories in the Caribbean. The total number of confirmed/probable cases has reached 4,906.
While public health officials wait for the test results, MRCU confirmed taking additional control measures in the area where the patient lives.
Minister responsible for health, Hon Osbourne Bodden said, “The Government has been closely monitoring this situation as its incidence has increased across the region.”
He added, “I want to assure the public that the Department of Public Health and the Mosquito Research and Control Unit are working together to keep a close watch - and are increasing their vigilance and mosquito control efforts to minimise the population of the vector.”
“Irrespective of confirmation or otherwise of this case as chikungunya or dengue, the public is being reminded to employ protective measures against mosquito bites locally or during their travels. Use mosquito repellants on skin and clothing, and when outdoors during times that mosquitoes are biting, wear long- sleeved shirts and long pants tucked into socks. ” Dr. Kumar added.
“People can greatly assist in reducing the local Aedes aegypti population by clearing their yards of containers that can hold water as these are favourite breeding sites for this mosquito,” MRCU Director Dr. William Petrie said.
For more advice on how to control mosquitoes in your yard, contact the MRCU on 949-2557 in Grand Cayman or 948-2223 in Cayman Brac; and DEH on 949-6696 in Grand Cayman or 948-2321 in Cayman Brac.
Key Facts on Chikungunya
• Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes. It causes fever and severe joint pain. Other symptoms include muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash.
• The disease shares some clinical signs with dengue, and can be misdiagnosed in areas where dengue is common.
• There is no cure for the disease. Treatment is focused on relieving the symptoms.
• The proximity of mosquito breeding sites to human habitation is a significant risk factor for chikungunya.
• Since 2004, chikungunya fever has reached epidemic proportions globally, with considerable morbidity and suffering.
• The disease occurs in Africa, Asia and the Indian subcontinent. In recent decades mosquito vectors of chikungunya have spread to Europe and the Americas. In 2007, disease transmission was reported for the first time in a localized outbreak in north-eastern Italy.