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Jamaica confirms second imported case of chikungunya

Tuesday, July 29, 2014    

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DR Marion Bullock-Ducasse, director of emergency, disaster management and special services in the health ministry, last night urged Jamaicans to take precautions when travelling to countries with Case of chikungunya.

Her call followed the ministry's confirmation of the second imported case of chikungunya.

Dr DuCasse explained that, in both cases, the individuals travelled from an affected country where they were infected with the chikungunya virus and became ill here. There has been no local transmission of the virus.

"I want to urge persons who have travelled to chikungunya- affected countries and are experiencing symptoms on arrival in Jamaica to visit their doctor or the nearest health centre immediately. I also encourage them to cooperate with health personnel who are working to reduce the possibility of spread and impact of the disease on the population," Dr Bullock-DuCasse said.

Individuals, she said, should ensure that they protect themselves from mosquito bites by using insect repellent containing DEET and covering their body as much as possible by wearing long-sleeved clothing, for example, when travelling.

In the meantime, she said the ministry would continue with its heightened surveillance and efforts to reduce the vector through the vector control programme.

Chikungunya is spread by the Aedes aegypti which is a day biting mosquito that will almost always be found in and around areas where people live, work and play. The mosquito breeds in water that settles in containers around homes, schools, churches, workplaces, and playgrounds.

Symptoms of chikungunya include high fever, joint pain mainly in the hands, wrists and ankles and other joints, headache, muscle pain, and a rash. Although it does not often result in death, joint pains and stiffness can last for months and even years. It may become a source of chronic pain and disability resulting in the individual being unable to attend work or school. Infants and the elderly are at greater risk for more severe symptoms.

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