Five cases of Chikungunya confirmed in Cayman

| 30/07/2014

(CNS): Public health officials say that since the first test case for the chikungunya virus in June, they have seen at least ten suspected cases. While blood sample tests for two of those cases are still pending, five have proved positive and three negative, but only one has been confirmed as a local transmission as the other four patients had all travelled to areas where the mosquito borne disease has taken a hold. The sole local transmission was in a patient from Bodden Town. The health department said Wednesday that since the last public update on 21 July there have been three new cases sent for testing from a residents in West Bay, George Town and Cayman Brac.

Officials stated that one result was received this week from the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), which tested positive for chikungunya and that patient has a travel history to the Dominican Republic. In total so far, out of eight cases tested, five have come back positive and three negative. Two results for blood samples sent on 28 July are pending.

With the exception of the local transmission, four people who have acquired the virus had travelled to the Dominican Republic and two to Guyana. In all cases residents have come from the four districts of George Town, Bodden Town, West Bay and Cayman Brac. So far, no one in either East End or North Side has presented with a suspected case of the disease, for which there is no vaccine or specific medication that can cure the virus but physicians can treat some of the severe symptoms.

The number of Caribbean countries/territories reporting cases of chikungunya continues to increase. To date, cases of chikungunya have been confirmed in 36 countries/territories in the Caribbean region. The total number of confirmed/probable cases has reached 5,824. Regional updates can be accessed by visiting the CARPHA website or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Key Facts on Chikungunya

  • Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted to humans by the bite of infected Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, similar to dengue. Chikungunya 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. Joint paint is predominant in chikungunya, while muscle pain is predominant in dengue.
  • There is no medication against the virus. Treatment is focused on relieving the symptoms- bed rest, over the counter pain killers, and plenty of fluids.
  • There is no vaccine against chikungunya or dengue.  Prevention of these diseases is through protective measures against mosquito bites by use of mosquito repellents on skin and clothing, and when outdoors during times that mosquitoes are biting, wearing long- sleeved shirts and long pants tucked into socks.
  • The proximity of mosquito breeding sites to human habitation is a significant risk factor for chikungunya. People can greatly assist in reducing the local Aedes aegypti population by clearing their yards of containers that can hold water as these are favourite breeding sites for this mosquito.
  • 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.

For more advice on how to control mosquitoes in your yard, contact the MRCU on 949-2557 in Grand Cayman or 948-2223 in Cayman Brac; and DEH on 949-6696 in Grand Cayman or 948-2321 in Cayman Brac.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    As a result of this I've stopped going* to a very popular major development near SMB because whenever I go there I get bitten by mosquitos when sitting outside, & will not take a chance with this. I'd rather go to other parts of the island that don't have such a problem. *Or if I do go, I choose to dine inside & not at their restaurants' outside tables.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Is there a Quarantine Act under Immigration Control?  Right now it seems as important to track Ebola as well as Chikungunia. I hope that immigration officers are well-versed in recognizing signs of illness and scrutinize the travelling pattern of new arrivals and returning residents. There is, hopefully a Quarantine Quarters…

  3. Anonymous says:

    For many years Cayman was free of aedes aegypti, why has MRCU not put a task force in place to ensure this is once again the case?

  4. Anonymous says:

    It really offers me confidence in the governmerbnt given they have reduced funding to the mosquito control unit. When will the foolishness of this government get sorted out?