Officials prepare for potential virus outbreak

| 17/07/2014

(CNS): Two residents of Savannah have become the latest patients suspected of contracting either dengue fever or the chikungunya virus. Public health officials also confirmed that the a fourth blood sample tested for chikungunya from a a patient in Cayman Brac was also positive for the virus. All three patients who contracted the illness had travelled to countries where the virus is now taking a hold. Two had been to Guyana and one to the Dominican Republic. Meanwhile, public health organised a meeting with various government departments at the Cayman Islands Hospital earlier this month to discuss control measures, testing protocols and contingency planning in preparation for a possible outbreak locally.

Along with health officials representatives from the mosquito research and control, environmental health, customs, agriculture and the department of tourism were present. Health minister Osborne Bodden said that he was confident that with cooperation and regular communication the public sector would succeed in its efforts to control the disease in the Cayman Islands.

The Cayman Islands confirmed its first travel associated case of chikungunya on 30 June and has seen three confirmed imported cases since. Officials urged travellers to see a doctor at once, if they experience joint pains, fever and vomiting within two weeks of returning from another Caribbean country or south-east Asia. More than two dozen countries in the region have reported cases of the viral, mosquito-borne illness.

As a preventative measure the public is also asked to remove anything that might hold standing water from around their properties.

Both dengue and chikungunya are transmitted by Aedes aegypti mosquitoesand symptoms of dengue include fever, headache, muscle aches, joint pains, pain behind the eyes, and rash.  Among chikungunya symptoms are fever, joint pains, muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash. While joint pain is predominant in chikungunya, as muscle pain is in dengue, both illnesses share some clinical signs that can be misdiagnosed. For this reason, patients with these symptoms are investigated for both dengue and chikungunya. The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) also tests, blood samples for both viruses.

Regional updates can be accessed by visiting the CARPHA website on http://carpha.org/What-We-Do/Public-Health-Activities/Chikungunya and US updates can be had by accessing CDC  on http://www.cdc.gov/chikungunya/geo/united-states.html.

To determine if the country to which you are travelling has chikungunya, please contact the Public Health Department at 244-2648

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Did not get it. How do your prepare for the outbreak if there is no treatment in existance? Blood samples are for statistics.  Prepare to diagnose?  Still not sure HOW they are going to control it in case of the outbeak. They are going to do WHAT?