Guyana confirms 76 cases of chikungunya

By Caribbean Medical News Staff

Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr Shamdeo Persaud has confirmed that Guyana has confirmed 76 cases of chikungunya of the 250 blood samples sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) in Trinidad and Tobago. Though not usually fatal, thirty two people have died from complications of the illness.

To date, Guyana has 580 suspected cases and CARICOM has confirmed 921 cases in the region with some countries reporting higher numbers of cases than others. CARPHA has asked for CARICOM countries to continue to educate the public and for Ministries of Health to continue their surveillance and vector control activity to control the spread of the illness.

“We feel that a lot can be done at the household level… from the inspections carried out, we have noted that there are several common breeding grounds around the homes where even fogging would not impact effectively,” said Persaud.

Persaud explained that Chikungunya can only be contained if people are vigilant and keep their surroundings free of breeding sites, wear protective clothing and comply with Government’s suggestions to keep the illness at bay. He went on to ask greater involvement by the communities to control the spread of the vector-borne illness.

Vector control personnel in Georgetown continue to go to “high-risk” areas where they conduct inspections especially where dengue has also been diagnosed. The viral illness usually presents with a fever of around 103 degrees, severe joint pain, severe headache, muscle pain, rash and the elderly, babies and other vulnerable people must be monitored more closely.

“Once you have contracted it, you have life-long protection against; it is one of those viral diseases that you develop immunity against,” the CMO said. He also said that while uncomfortable there is no treatment for the illness other than treatment of symptoms through fever and pain medication, hydration and rest.

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