Cayman’s first chikungunya case confirmed

| 30/06/2014

(CNS): In the face of the current regional outbreak of chikungunya virus local public health officials have confirmed the first imported case into the Cayman Islands by a returning resident. Medical Officer of Health Dr Kiran Kumar said the patient, who has been treated and released from the Cayman Islands Hospital is no longer infectious and at present there is no evidence of local transmission of chikungunya in the Cayman Islands. Nevertheless the senior doctor has stated that Cayman needs to remain alert regarding the disease.
“Chikungunya is not directly transmitted from person to person, but a mosquito biting a person with Chikungunya fever can spread the virus to another person,” he explained.

“Persons, who develop symptoms within two weeks of having returned from countries with Chikungunya cases, are considered imported,” Dr Kumar explained. “While we need to be alert, and take preventative measures, we need not be alarmed of one case. For Aedes mosquitoes to transmit Chikungunya they must bite infected persons, who then become infectious and transmit the disease.”

People who develop Chikungunya symptoms within two weeks of having returned from countries with the disease should consult their physician and inform of their travel history, the public health official stated.

The MRCU Director, William Petrie has also confirmed that his department will be monitoring the situation and last week confirmed that the unit would be concentrating spraying efforts in the area of George Town as the resident who contracted Chikungunya while overseas is understood to reside in the capital.

However, the fight to keep the Aedes aegypti population down locally can be greatly assisted by people clearing yards of containers that can hold water, as these are favourite breeding sites.

Meanwhile, the health minister Osbourne Bodden, said in addition to the Health Services Authority, the Public Health Department and the MRCU taking proactive measures to combat the disease the ministry is offering its full backing on all on the early detection and management of any imported cases, in order to curtail local transmission.

As of 30 June 4,970 confirmed Chikungunya cases have occurred in 25 Caribbean countries. These include Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cuba, Dominica, Dominica Republic, French Guyana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, Martinique, Puerto Rico, St Barthelemy, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, Sint Maarten, St Martin, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Turks and Caicos Islands, US Virgin Islands and Venezuela.

For more advice on mosquito control, contact MRCU on 949-2557 in Grand Cayman, or 948-2223 on Cayman Brac; and DEH on 949-6696 in Grand Cayman, or 948-2321 in Cayman Brac. For further information on Chikungunya, please contact the Public Health Department at 244-2648 or 244-2632.

Key Facts on Chikungunya
Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes. It causes fever and severe joint pain. Other symptoms include muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash.
The disease shares some clinical signs with dengue, and can be misdiagnosed in areas where dengue is common.
There is no cure for the disease. Treatment is focused on relieving the symptoms.
The proximity of mosquito breeding sites to human habitation is a significant risk factor for Chikungunya.
Since 2004, Chikungunya fever has reached epidemic proportions globally, with considerable morbidity and suffering.
The disease occurs in Africa, Asia and the Indian subcontinent. In recent decades mosquito vectors of Chikungunya have spread to Europe and the Americas. In 2007, disease transmission was reported for the first time in a localized outbreak in north-eastern Italy.

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  1. anonymous says:

    Why don't we just developed the swamp? We could save millions of dollars per year in health and in Spraying large quantities of mosquitoes throughout the Cayman Islands. Don

  2. Anonymous says:

    how did i know that it would be confirmed as this chikungunya and not dengue fever…cuz Cayman just dont want to be left out of nuttin

  3. Getting tired of this bull... says:

    Sounds like a replay of the SARS, avian flu and dengue scares developing here. Over the years I've picked up a number of nasty bugs incuding at least one of the dengue strains and the Fujian flu (H3N2) in late 2003. These things are simple – you get sick, you recover – there's no medical emergency and you don't (as people do every year when the norovirus comes round) need to go sceaming to A&E looking for treatment.

    The reality is that your health is at more risk from alcohol, smoking, obesity, casual sex and road accidents than from chikungunya. The only people who benefit from this hysteria are the medical profession, the testing labs and the drug companies.  

  4. Anonymous says:

    I had a bad Chimichanga a couple of months ago and had the nasua, headache, vomiting etc. but then maybe it was also the large amount of alchiol consumed.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Where did the person who has it travel to / from?

  6. spotsydebbie says:

    Actually, the chickens and iguanas will eat the mosquitoes.  Why do people hate chickens and iguanas so much, anyway?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Mosquitoes plus wild chickens and iguanas, boy this chikungunya thing could end up killing us all.