News

Chikungunya cases reach eight

Thursday, August 14, 2014    

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AN additional four cases of chikungunya were yesterday confirmed by the Ministry of Health, bringing the total number of cases on the island to eight. Of the confirmed cases, six are from local transmission and two are imported.

Director of emergency, disaster management and special services, Dr Marion Bullock DuCasse said the positive results were received yesterday from samples sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).

The affected parishes include St Thomas, St Catherine, St Ann, and Kingston and St Andrew.

On Tuesday, the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona was scheduled to fog the campus as well as a 500-metre radius into the surrounding community following the confirmation of a chikungunya case there. However, in a news release from the health ministry yesterday, Dr DuCasse explained that the ministry was awaiting confirmation from CARPHA of the suspected case at the UWI.

In the meantime, Dr DuCasse said activities aimed at verctor control are continuing.

"The ministry will continue with its public education and intense vector control activities including fogging of the surrounding areas and communities in which the affected persons reside," Dr DuCasse said.

She added that although there is now local transmission of chikungunya, people can take steps to significantly reduce the spread of the disease by limiting opportunities for the Aedes aegypti mosquito to breed. The mosquito is domesticated and breeds in containers where water settles in and around the home, school, business places, and places of worship and other areas where people generally gather, the release continued.

"I would like to stress that individual responsibility is important for us to reduce the mosquito population. Each citizen has to recognise the role that they have to play in ensuring that they do not provide opportunities for mosquitoes to breed in their environment," Dr DuCasse said. "This will assist with limiting the spread of chikungunya."

The Pan American Health Organisation has reported that as of August 1, 2014, 31 countries and territories in the Americas have reported that they have local transmission of chikungunya and 23 with imported cases. There have been a total of 508,122 suspected cases reported and 4,736 confirmed as being locally transmitted. In addition, there have been a reported total of 535 confirmed imported cases and 32 deaths.

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