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Health officer cautions against reemergence of chick-V

Published:Saturday | May 16, 2015 | 12:00 AMShanique Samuels

A CLARENDON health official is cautioning against a possible re-emergence of the chikungunya (chik-V) virus later this year.

According to outgoing medical officer of health Dr Vitillius Reid-Holder, based on last year's trend, the virus could resurface sometime around the months of August to September.

"Based on medical statistics last year, there is a possibility that chik-V might resurface round about the same time it did last year, but in smaller numbers. It will be significantly less as the virus would have already been circulated, but, let us use the trends of what happened last year to prepare for what might happen this year," she warned.

anticipate and prepare

Reid-Holder argued that with any new disease coming into a country, the numbers would have been high because the population did not have immunity. However, she noted that once it becomes endemic in the population, smaller numbers of persons who did not have immunity are at risk of getting the virus.

"What we anticipate is that certain diseases tend to be seasonal and we tend to have similar trends every year. So in terms of dengue and leptospirosis, we tend to see the most cases between August and September going up into the rainy season. Based on what happened last year, let us anticipate and be prepared. It might not happen, but let us use the data in the past as a guide in preparation," she said.

The medical officer said the messages, precautions, and sensitisation materials published last year are still relevant and persons should continue to take care of their surroundings to minimise the risk of catching the virus.