BVI confirms three cases of chickungunya virus

By Caribbean Medical News Staff

Medical Officer of Health in the Ministry of Health in the BVI, Dr Ronald Georges said, “We have confirmed three cases on Jost Van Dyke of chickungunya disease”. The ministry of health confirmed the cases of chickungunya disease, following reports of confirmed cases in the French Caribbean island of St Martin and increased surveillance throughout the BVI.

Chickungunya is a viral disease transmitted to humans by the bite of infected mosquitoes that also causes dengue fever and the Ministry has increased its “fogging programme” and inspections in attempts to control the breeding of the mosquitoes.

“It is important to note that these confirmed cases were not exposed to travel, which alerts us that the virus is already in our mosquito population,” Georges said. He also indicated that every appropriate effort was being used to minimise risk on the islands.

Georges said that chickungunya presents with symptoms that are very similar to those of dengue fever, which last two to five days, though some people have encountered symptoms for as many as ten days. Symptoms include multiple joint pains that can be moderate to severe, headaches, back pain, nausea, conjunctival infection, rash, vomiting and a fever of 102 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

“Anyone experiencing one or more of these symptoms should contact their healthcare provider immediately,” he said, adding, “Persons are urged to be vigilant in inspecting their premises for mosquito breeding sites.”

He said that homeowners and commercial house owners needed to be aware and not only eliminate breeding sites but wear protective clothing. He said it was also important to look after babies and protect them at all times though the disease in not known to be life-threatening.

The Environmental Health Division will continue surveillance and control measures at ports of entry. Clinicians and physicians have been asked by the Ministry to continue to engage in surveillance and proactively keep the public informed about the disease which has not been seen since the late 1950s.

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