Caribbean Chikungunya cases climb to over 100

| 07/01/2014

(CNS): Following the recent news of an outbreak of Chikungunya in the region Cayman officials said that over one hundred cases in six Caribbean countries have now been confirmed. In an update from the health services authority Cayman’s Medical Officer of Health Dr Kiran Kumar said that from 6 December to 31 December 111 cases of Chikungunya were confirmed in Saint Martin, Saint Barthelemy, Martinique, Guadeloupe and French Guiana.  “Local transmission of Chikungunya virus has been documented in five countries. One hundred and nine cases were of local transmission and two were imported,” Dr Kumar said.

This is the first time locally-acquired cases of Chikungunya have been detected in the Caribbean.  In the Americas, imported cases had previously been reported from Brazil, Canada, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique and the United States of America. 
In this recent outbreak most of the cases are on the French side of Saint Martin where 89 cases have been confirmed with one on the Dutch side of the islands as well. Nine cases included one imported case have been reported in Saint Barthelemy, eight cases in Martinique, three in Guadeloupeand one imported case in French Guiana.

Chikungunya is a viral disease, carried mainly by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito and causes a dengue-like sickness. The symptoms appear between four to seven days after the bite of an infected mosquito.   Symptoms include a sudden high fever, severe pain in the wrists, ankles or knuckles, muscle pain, headache, nausea and rash.  Joint pain and stiffness are more common with Chikungunya than with dengue. The management of Chikungunya is symptomatic, similar to that of dengue. The majority of clinical signs and symptoms last three to 10 days, but joint pain may persist longer.  Severe cases requiring hospitalisation are rare.

There is no vaccine or treatment for Chikungunya, which has infected millions of people in Africa and Asia since the disease was first recorded in 1952.  India, countries in the Indian Ocean, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Singapore and Indonesia are among the major countriescurrently with Chikungunya outbreaks.

“The World Health Organization does not advise special screening at points of entry into the country with regards to this event. Nor does it currently recommend the application of any travel or trade restrictions,” said Dr Kumar.

The public health boss advised travelers to protect against mosquito bites while in endemic countries. Those who experience fever and severe joint pains after their return should consult a physician and advise of travel history, so that doctors can assess and test for Chikungunya. Such tests will be carried out at the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), Trinidad.


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  1. Anonymous says:

    I like my chikungunja fried