Three new local cases of chikungunya confirmed

| 02/10/2014

(CNS): Despite weeks of managing to contain the chikungunya virus which is spreading rapidly through the Caribbean, public health officials confirmed three more local transmissions on Thursday. Since June when Cayman recorded its first case in a patient with a travel history to an endemic country there had been just one local transmission. However 11 blood samples sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency earlier this month have been confirmed as positive and three of those patients have no travel history indicating that they were infected here in Cayman. Dr Kiran Kumar, the medical officer of health urged residents to take protective action.

The public health boss said the public needed to take protective measures such as using mosquito repellents containing DEET on skin, and wearing long- sleeved shirts and long pants tucked into socks when outdoors during times that the Aedes aegypti mosquito  is biting, which he said was between 7.00-9.00 am and between 4.00 and 6.00pm.

Dr Bill Petrie, Director of the Mosquito Research Control Unit said eliminating breeding sites was key to combatting the disease.

“We encourage residents to clean-up their yards and remove or turn over any items that may hold water, such as buckets, and in this way eliminate potential breeding sites for this mosquito.” Dr Petrie said. He added that the MRCU has already stepped-up control operations, to include aerial spraying, which will continue in West Bay this afternoon; vehicle-mounted fogging and hand-held fogging; as well as continuing to inspect and treat yards and premises.

Health officials who learned of the 11 positive cases on Wednesday evening said that they will be Officials meeting Friday 3 October to review control measures.

“Eight had travel history to other Caribbean countries prior to becoming ill,” said Dr Kumar. “Six had travelled to Jamaica, one to St Lucia and the other to Guyana, while three had no travel history, which means those were cases of local transmission,” he added.
Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, it causes fever, severe joint pain, muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash. Officials urge anyone who may be experiencing these symptoms to immediately see a healthcare provider.

Osbourne Bodden, the health minister said that although officials have some concerns regarding the transmission of chikungunya, the Public Health Department, and Mosquito Research and Control Unit were actively collaborating to ensure the containment. Echoing Dr Kumar’s comments, the minister pressed the point about that people needed to protect themselves from mosquito bites and to assist MRCU by eliminating breeding sites in and around homes. He also promised that the Ministry of Health, the Public Health Department and MRCU will continue to update the public throughout this process.

Since the last update on 22 September 2014, 10 new cases were placed under investigation during the week of 23-29 September 2014. The eleven patients who tested positive (16-24) September are residents of George Town (4) West Bay (4) Bodden Town (2) and Cayman Brac (1) .

Their onset of symptoms took place between 16-22 September so they are no longer considered infectious, as it has been more than a week. The chikungunya virus is transmitted by mosquitoes biting infected persons during the first week of illness.

The first case of chikungunya in the Cayman Islands was reported at the end of June and with the latest results 56 cases of chikungunya have now been investigated and 48 results have been received. Eighteen have come back positive four of which are believed to be local transmissions, 28 were negative and two inconclusive. Results of 8 blood samples are still outstanding.

As at 29 September, 12,720 cases of chikungunya have been reported across the region. Further information can be obtained through www.hsa.ky. Regional updates can be accessed by visiting the CARPHA website on http://carpha.org/What-We-Do/Public-Health-Activities/Chikungunya. In addition United States updates are available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on http://www.cdc.gov/chikungunya/geo/united-states.html
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Comments (3)

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  1. Totally Bogus Gov't says:

    On 12th August 2014 the health minister Bodden and his elves at the health ministry declared this "Contained" What gives? as a poster rightly posted on that same blog that it was too premature to do so. No surprise that this is still spreading in Cayman and in fact  is still raging throughout the Caribbean and Latin America. but once again this totally Bogus PPm Government makes another fool fool declaration which unfortunately is misleading and is now putting the population of this island at risk. What Time is it Peoples? PPM Time!!!

    • Truthseeker says:

      Your politicalization of this as  PPM problem speaks loudly; your obviuos agenda to blame the PPM is not supported by rational argument. Do you have any facts to back up your rhetoric? 

       

       

  2. Anonymous says:

    How is it that MRCU has failed in recent years to keep the country free of Aedes aegypti? These mosquitos were eradicated from the country for decades with any imported cases being dealt with very swiftly. Thus, the reason we have been free of dengue etc. We deserve an explanation.