Private patients pay thousands for Chik-V test
WITH THE cost of conducting private laboratory tests for chikungunya amounting to more than $10,000, Opposition Spokesman on Health Dr Kenneth Baugh said persons suspected of contracting the disease can be clinically diagnosed.
"I don't think you have to wait on the blood test to decide the course of action," Baugh pointed out during a press conference on Wednesday at the Jamaica Labour Party headquarters, Belmont Road in St Andrew.
However, Baugh argued that, if a person has to be admitted to hospital, the Government should underwrite the cost of the test.
In a news release on Wednesday, Health Minister Dr Fenton Ferguson said patients who are suspected of having chikungunya are treated symptomatically and so there is no need to wait on lab results to initiate treatment, which includes the use of paracetamol for pain, rest, and drinking lots of fluids.
Persons are advised not to take medication containing aspirin, ibuprofen and diclofenac if they believe they may have chikungunya or dengue.
He pointed out that the ministry does not require laboratory testing of every single person with symptoms of chikungunya. "For example, if every member of a household is ill, only one or two would be tested for the disease. The diagnosis of the others would depend on whether the samples come back positive or negative for chikungunya," the health minister explained.