Chikungunya numbers stable as dengue cases increase

| 19/11/2014

(CNS): Despite expectations that cases of chikungunya would increase in the Cayman Islands as a state of emergency regarding the virus exists in neigbouring Jamaica, public health officials confirmed Wednesday that there were no new cases here over the last week. However Dr Kiran Kumar the Medical Officer of Health urged people not to be complacent as there were two further cases of dengue fever confirmed one of which was in a patient with no travel history. “With positive chikungunya and dengue cases, it emphasizes the need for the public to protect themselves from mosquito bites and take measures against mosquito breeding,” the doctor added.

“There were six suspected cases of chikungunya during the week 10-17 November 2014 based on symptoms. One had travelled to Jamaica, and five reported no travel history. It is note worthy that the reported cases are on the decline, but we should not be complacent,” he said

The total number of confirmed chikungunya cases in the Cayman Islands remains at 34 to date with 10 locally transmitted cases.

However, the problem Cayman now faces is that the numbers in Jamaica are very high where there is a virtual epidemic of the virus which was unheard of in this region until last year.

The health minister, Osbourne Bodden said that there was very little that health officials can do to prevent the virus from entering the country given the situation in Jamaica but the said the focus was on keeping down the numbers and fighting the major cause – the aedes egypti mosquito.

“We are holding our numbers fairly steady, although we have had significant increases since Jamaica became a problem area for us,” he told CNS this week. “We cannot stop the virus coming in, but we can control the spread by controlling the mosquito, and to this end MRCU efforts and all our announcements and monitoring thru the Dept of Pub Health has paid off.  Thanks to all staff and both department for their great efforts.”

Currently, the majority of people who have picked up the chikungunya virus overseas did so in Jamaica with 18  people being infected there.

Dr Kumar also said that results from five blood samples sent between 11-17 November and 19 previous samples are still awaited none of which have a travel history.

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. They also remind the public to 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.

As of 14 November cases of chikungunya across 35 Caribbean countries had reached 16,334.

Further information can be obtained through www.hsa.ky. Regional updates can be accessed on the CARPHA website http://carpha.org/What-We-Do/Public-Health-Activities/Chikungunya.  United States updates are available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on http://www.cdc.gov/chikungunya/geo/united-states.html.
 

Category: Health

Comments (5)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    We vacation regularly in Grand Cayman so this "epidemic" is causing us to rethink our plans.  To the extent that the Cayman economy has a dependenecy on tourism, I would advise Cayman authorities to give this matter the highest priority.  We are planning to visit in March so progress (or not) the next two months will determine whether or not weactually visit, or go to Arizona instead.  We love Cayman and hope this problem is soon under contriol.  

  2. Anonymous says:

    Absolutely agree with previous writer.  

    In addition, what makes me laugh is that the Medical officer, Dr. Kumar, says repeatedly: wear long sleeves, wear long pants…'  What a joke!  Mosquitos get you through jeans, through socks, through trainers.  Mosquitos are like bad men and bad (or nonsensical) advice….

  3. Anonymous says:

    All we will need is for a stay over tourist who has traveled no where else to get one of these illnesses and have it go viral.

    Bye Bye stayover visitors.

  4. Anonymous says:

    This govt cuts MRCU budget and then blows $3mln on preparations for a disease that no first world countries are expecting.  This chronic dog-headedness and misalligned priority is running this country into ruin.

    • Anonymous says:

      The fact that they are not expecting it is disastrous since it has already reached first world cournties including the U.S., the U.K., Spain and Germany.