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Don't use politics to cause panic over Chikungunya, says Ferguson

Published:Thursday | September 11, 2014 | 12:27 PM
Dr Fenton Ferguson - File

Health Minister Dr Fenton Ferguson is warning against the use of politics to cause persons to panic in relation to the spread of the Chikungunya virus.

His comments come against the background of yesterday’s press conference by the Opposition Jamaica Labour Party at which it was said that at least four parishes are now battling a full blown epidemic of Chikungunya.

Yesterday, opposition spokesman on health Dr Kenneth Baugh said the Government must move with alacrity to contain the rapid spread of the disease locally.

However, the health minister is insisting that persons raising an alarm about a Chikungunya outbreak are not taking into consideration the fact that the virus presents symptoms similar to other illnesses.

Ferguson says despite the long name of the virus, persons do not need to become frightened as it is not particularly life threatening.

Ferguson says Jamaica has been following World Health Organisation standards in relation to testing of persons suspected to have Chikungunya.

He also notes that not everyone who presents symptoms of the virus will be tested as it is the symptoms that are treated and a lab test is not needed to begin treatment.

Meanwhile, the Health Minister says care needs to be taken to ensure that the situation is not made to seem worse than it is as it could affect Jamaica’s tourism earnings.

Ferguson was speaking this morning on Independent Talk on Power 106 FM.

The health ministry says up to September 6, it reviewed 225 possible cases of which 120 were deemed suspected cases of Chikungunya.

The ministry says of the 120 suspected cases, 22 have been discarded as they tested negative, 24 are laboratory confirmed and the others remain suspected cases.

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