Chickungunya reaches 2000 cases and hits St. Kitts, one death in St. Martin

By Caribbean Medical News Staff

As of February 17th, over 2106 cases of chickungunya have been confirmed in Trinidad and now St. Kitts has recorded its first case. Another 5000 cases are suspected by the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA). An elderly man has died in French St. Martin according to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

According to a statement from the Ministry of Health  in St. Kitts, a  young man aged thirty years old (30) and was treated and discharged from the hospital. The name ‘chikungunya’ is derived from a name in the Kimakonde language, meaning “to become contorted”.

The European Centre for Disease Control says 326 cases have been recorded in the French Caribbean island of Martinique to date and Canada has issued a travel note for those visiting the Caribbean.

Confirmatory testing was done by the Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).

The World Health Organization says that the disease is a mosquito-borne viral disease first noted during an outbreak in southern Tanzania in 1952.   The virus is characterized by the onset of a fever and severe joint pains especially in the wrist, ankles and knuckles and symptoms may continue long after the disease’s symptoms like rash and fever have passed.

Other common signs and symptoms include muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash. The joint pain is often very debilitating, but usually ends within a few days or weeks. According to WHO, the symptoms may last for months and arthritic conditions may continue.

There is no treatment for chikungunya. Only treatment for symptoms is administered by medical professionals and the young and elderly and those with underlying medical problems remain more vulnerable than healthy adults.

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