UK Daily mail says UK visitors being hit with CHIKV

By Caribbean Medical News Staff
British tourists may very well avoid visiting the Caribbean this year.
There may be no Santa on the sand and beach parties and fireworks for some British tourists if they are startled by some reports out of the British press.
The Caribbean is known as a stomping ground for British tourists who flock to the Caribbean in their numbers to avoid cold, blizzard-like conditions and soak up the sun, sea and sand but the UK Daily Mail says that British tourists have been “struck down” by the mosquito-borne illness.
The report spoke of the region having thousands of sufferers who had fallen victim to the painful, viral illness which presents with a sudden fever, severe headache, rash, painful aches in the wrists, ankles and bones in general which may last for months. The disease is viral and in some cases can lead to death in the vulnerable which includes the already ill, babies and the elderly. The UK Daily mail refereed to chikungunya as “potentially deadly”.
CARPHA recently announced that chikungunya was “out of control” in the Caribbean with several thousands of cases and 32 confirmed dead. However, at press time, Caribbean Medical News could not confirm the number of sickened tourists to the Caribbean.
That said, there has also not been any announcement from Tourist Boards as to the avoidance of chikungunya that the CMN is aware and a check of the Caribbean Tourism Organization does not reveal any information on chikungunya.
The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) also did not feature any educational information on chikungunya disease and how to avoid contracting the illness. The same applied for individual Hotel and Tourism Associations throughout the region. Information is available on CARPHA’s website, however.
It is perhaps understandable that at a time that the region depends so heavily on tourism, the winter season, that there is no information and that these are marketing tourism organizations and not public health organizations. However, various organizations and countries have issued information on chikungunya in the region.
“Yesterday, there were fears that British tourists may not realize the dangers until it is too late, amid reports that tour operators are playing down the problem,” the UK Daily mail report said.
The disease turned up in the region last December with its first case in the French Caribbean island of St. Martin. Thereafter it has raged unabated in the region filling up Accident and Emergency rooms and sending many workers on extended sick leaves from work.

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