38 000 new cases of chikungunya, 32 dead

By Caribbean Medical News Staff

While the Ebola virus rages through West Africa with up to 1 000 deaths to date, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is saying that as many as an alarming 38 000 cases have been confirmed in the Dominican Republic in the last week.

In fact, PAHO is saying that cases have risen from 473 523 cases to 513 393 cases as compared to a week earlier.

In recent comments Dr. James Hospedales of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) had suggested that chikunguyna was spreading rapidly and island-countries within CARICOM needed to do all in their power to control the painful disease.

Spread by the same mosquito that spreads dengue fever, the disease usually lasts between 3-10 days and symptoms tend to be excruciatingly painful and include severe headache, severe joint pain, rash, muscle pain, high fever and in some cases the joint pain (usually in the wrists) may last as long as two years.

These new stats include suspected and confirmed cases whether imported or locally acquired. PAHO says that the DR accounts for over 306 000 cases.

Death toll increases

The death toll has also increased from six to 32 as health officials throughout the French and English-speaking Caribbean and Guyana struggle to grapple with the spread of the disease.  Martinique has a total of 54 075 cases, Haiti has 64 706 cases with Dominica have the highest concentration of cases in the OECS at 3 559 and St. Lucia confirming 67 cases and 214 suspected cases. Barbados has confirmed seven cases and St. Vincent, Jamaica, Bahamas and other countries in the region have confirmed and suspected cases.

Affected countries are continuing aggressive public awareness campaigns, vector control including fogging and surveillance for breeding sites.

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