CARPHA: No infectious disease coverup

The head of the Caribbean Public Health Agency is seeking to allay fears that countries are covering up the statistics on mosquito-borne diseases such as Zika and chikungunya.

Dr. James Hospedales acknowledges that residents across the Caribbean often do not believe the stats reported by health officials because of the number of people in their communities who might have had the illness.

Dr. Hospedales explains that reported figures are often laboratory confirmed cases and do not represent everyone who has been infected.

He says that in the context of the Zika outbreak, the reported cases are the people who were symptomatic, sought medical attention and then tested positive for the disease.

The CARPHA head says the data usually represents the tip of the iceberg, saying that the iceberg phenomenon is important and provides valuable information for public health decision making.

Dr. Hospedales says recorded data give indication of the magnitude of the infection, so action can be taken to reach those who cannot be seen and are under the water, so to speak.

To date Antigua and Barbuda health officials have said that the country has seven confirmed cases of Zika.(The Daily Observer)

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