Trinidad confirms 42 cases of chikungunya, vows to fight on

By Caribbean Medical News Staff

Trinidadians are worried as chikungunya continues to spread in the twin-island Republic. To this end, Ministry officials are attempting to allay the fears of the population while confirming that 42 cases have been confirmed by CARPHA which is also based in Trinidad.
“While we recognize the desire of the population to have areas sprayed more regularly, it must be noted that spraying is routinely done on a three month schedule. Spraying is a supplemental, temporary method which only kills the adult mosquito population. This must be accompanied by the cleaning up of homes and premises to remove mosquito breeding sites. The frequency of spraying is regulated by the World Health Organization (WHO) as spraying too regularly leads to mosquito populations that are resistant to the insecticide. The eradication of mosquito breeding sites is still the best method to reduce transmission of chikungunya and dengue fever,” said a Ministry of Health press release.
The Ministry further stated that many “cases” are suspected as well.
In the interim the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) has issued guidelines but says that they no longer have to confirm “suspected cases” where a clinician (physician) is able to make a qualified assessment, say reports from the Ministry of Health. Indeed, they are continuing to ask the public to step up to the plate and eradicate breeding sites and take the necessary precautions by removing stagnant water and inspecting their homes and environs.

Chikungunya is rarely fatal but there have been 32 deaths reported in the region. The disease, which is also spread by the mosquito responsible for dengue fever, causes bone-crushing pain in the joints, muscle pain, sudden high fever and rash. In some cases, the joint pain can last as long as two years.

The Ministry has encouraged anyone with the symptoms of chikungunya to get to a physician immediately stating that the already sick, elderly and babies are especially vulnerable.

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