Suspected case of chikungunya virus in Jamaica
The Health Ministry has issued a statement saying it is investigating a suspected case of the chikungunya virus in Jamaica.
The Ministry says the case may have been imported as the individual recently travelled from an affected country.
Should this be positive, it will confirm Jamaica’s first case of the mosquito-transmitted virus called Chik V for short.
"This does not indicate local spread of the virus and we continue to monitor persons living in and around areas visited by the individual," said Dr Kevin Harvey, the chief medical officer.
He says the individual had screening tests done at a private laboratory in Jamaica which indicated the illness.
A sample was taken and sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency for confirmation.
In the meantime, the Health Ministry says it has heightened its surveillance system to reduce the possibility of a local spread.
The Ministry of Health also says it has been putting measures in place for more than two years in anticipation of the chikungunya virus.
SYMPTOMS OF CHIKUNGUNYA
*High fever, headache, muscle pain, joint pain mainly in the limbs and large joints and a rash.
*Joint pains and stiffness can last for months and even years.
*Joint pains may become a source of chronic pain and disability resulting in the individual being unable to attend work or school.
*Infants and the elderly are at greater risk for more severe disease.
*There are some diseases that may increase the risk for severe disease such as diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease.
*Transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the same one that carries dengue fever.
*The chikungunya-carrying mosquito only bites in the day and is almost always found in and around areas where people live, work and play.
*The mosquito breeds in water that settles around homes, schools, churches, workplaces and playgrounds.
*As of July 14, 2014, 28 countries and territories in the Caribbean and Latin American Region have reported cases of chikungunya with a total of 5,227 confirmed.
HOW TO REDUCE RISK
*Search for and destroy mosquito breeding sites in and around homes, workplaces and communities. Breeding sites include old tyres and containers in which water can settle.
*Punch holes in tins before disposing.
*Cover large drums, barrels and tanks holding water.
*Persons travelling to and from countries which have confirmed cases of the virus should ensure that they protect themselves from mosquito bites by using insect repellent containing DEET and covering their body as much as possible by wearing long sleeved clothing for example.
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