Wed | Jun 28, 2017

More cases of chikungunya confirmed

Published:Sunday | September 7, 2014 | 9:00 AM

Three additional cases of chikungunya in Jamaica were confirmed by the Caribbean Public Health Agency last Thursday, bringing the number of confirmed cases to 24, even as medical officials report several more suspected cases.

Of the 24 confirmed cases, 21 are from local transmission, two imported and one considered cryptic due to the uncertainty of whether the virus was contracted while travelling overseas or from a household contact.

According to director, emergency, disaster management and special services, Dr Marion Bullock DuCasse, the health ministry will continue its strategies to reduce the spread of the disease, but adds that there is a major role for members of the public to achieve this.

Individual responsibility

"We have to continue to stress that individual responsibility is important for us to reduce the mosquito population. Each citizen has to recognise the role that they have to play in ensuring that they do not provide opportunities for mosquitoes to breed in their environment.

"This should be an ongoing exercise, especially since the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which spreads chikungunya, is generally found in and around places where people gather," said Ducasse.

Persons are urged to search for and destroy mosquito-breeding sites in and around their homes, businesses, places of worship, and schools by getting rid of old tyres and containers in which water can settle, punching holes in tins before disposing of, and covering large drums, barrels and tanks holding water.

DuCasse added that the ministry will continue with its response strategies, including heightened surveillance at the points of entry, public education, clinical management, vector control, laboratory capacity strengthening, training, social mobilisation, intersectoral collaboration, international cooperation and resource mobilisation.