Canada issues travel advisory on chikungunya

By Caribbean Medical News Staff

The Public Health Agency in Canada has issued an updated travel note regarding the increasing cases of chikungunya in the Caribbean.

The latest advisory states:  “there have been confirmed cases of chikungunya on the Caribbean islands of Saint Martin/St. Maarten, Dominica, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint-Barthélemy and the British Virgin Islands. These cases mark the first time that locally acquired transmission of chikungunya has been detected in the Region of the Americas.”

The Agency also asked Canadians to protect themselves should they have to travel to the Caribbean. The Canadian health agency said “particularly during peak mosquito biting times around sunrise and sunset” and to seek medical attention if symptoms similar to chikungunya develop after returning to Canada.

These 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.

Typically, symptoms tend to present between four to seven days after the bite of an infected mosquito. The majority of symptoms last between three to ten days with persistent joint pain afterward. Only severe cases require hospitalization but unlike dengue, the disease is not deemed life-threatening. Not all dengue fever is life threatening but those with the fever are asked to be vigilant in case they have contracted dengue haemorrhagic fever.

There is no vaccine or treatment for chikungunya, which has infected millions of people in Africa and Asia. The disease was first recorded in 1952 and has resurfaced only recently.




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