Local travellers pick up dengue and chikungunya

| 22/10/2014

(CNS): While fears over the global spread of the deadly Ebola virus capture international attention, public health officials in Cayman are still battling to contain chikungunya virus and once again dengue fever. Although there have been no new local transmissions of chikungunya virus, one result from a patient sample sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency has tested positive for the virus having travelled to Jamaica where there is a major outbreak. Another sample tested for dengue for the first time this year in a patient who had travelled to Honduras. Both viruses are similar and spread by mosquitoes so health officials continue to urge all residents to take precautions.

“As an outbreak has been established in Jamaica,” said Dr Kiran Kumar, adding that this was where the majority of patients in Cayman had contracted the virus, “the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) has advised that only a limited number of samples with travel history will be tested as all of them will be clinically diagnosed and considered as suspected cases.”The public health boss explained that “this means that since we have not had a locally transmitted case since 20 September blood testing will be carried out for those without travel history, to consider if any local transmission is occurring.”

So far Cayman has recorded 26 cases of chikungunya since the first case in June. Just four were acquired locally the rest of the people had travelled to the Dominican Republic, Guyana, Jamaica and St Lucia.  

This week Cayamn received results for 12 of 24 outstanding samples ten were negative but a resident of North side tested positive for chikungunya having travelled to Jamaica and another tested positive for dengue having visited Honduras where that virus is common, but both patients are no longer infectious.

Chikungunya 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. Use mosquito repellent with DEET on the skin, and wear long sleeve pants and shirts when outside during times that mosquitoes bite, whether in the Cayman Islands or on travels.
 
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 onhttp://www.cdc.gov/chikungunya/geo/united-states.html.

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Comments (8)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Crews assisting inbound passengers to the Cayman Islands should be equipped with IR thermometers and not permit anyone to board any craft destined for the Cayman Islands with a high-grade fever over 101'F.  We don't need any infectious flus, viruses, or diseases – none of them, thank you very much!  If you're not healthy enough to travel today: high-grade fever, sneezing, coughing, vommiting etc, please be kind enough to stay where you are and get better before you travel.  It used to just be called good manners, but perhaps the time has come to make this the official travel policy for the planet.  The IR thermometer doesn't lie.  

  2. Anonyanmous says:

    When Cayman was infested with mosquitos there was no dengue fever here . All work permit holders were tested as it stays in your system for up to seven years and if the test showed that the person had a prior or current infection then the person would not be granted a permit, the same should apply now.

  3. Traveller says:

    Hello Government. Can we poor Caymanians please have another option for US visa renewals? I am happy to risk being shot in the USA but I don't want to die of a mosquito bite in Jamaica to get my visa…….

    • Anonymous says:

      The risk of getting Chik-V in Jamaica is FAR higher than getting shot in the U.S.. And yes, we should certainly have another option for U.S. Visas. Can't we arrange for quarterly visits by the U.S. Embassy personnel? We should nto have waste money on Ja. visas.

      • Anonymous says:

        you reap what you sow

        • Anonymous says:

          Meaning that the childish retaliation by Ja. because we imposed a visa for them was justified? If "reciprocity" was the principle why didn't it impose one on the U.S., Canada, the U.K, Bermuda  – in fact the rest of the world? 

        • Kermit F. says:

          Sow? What do pigs have to do with it?

    • Anonymous says:

      You wont die, you will be just fine.