Chikungunya virus spreads to other parts of the country

Chikungunya virus spreads to other parts of the country

The chikungunya virus has made its way to other parts of the country with seven of the 12 newly confirmed cases emanating from Regions 3, 4, 5 and in Georgetown.

Minister of Health Dr. Bheri Ramsaran during an interview with the Government Information Agency (GINA) today, said there were three cases from West Berbice, namely Bath Settlement, Bush Lot, and Number 9 Village, one each from Mahaicony and Ithaca, one from North Ruimveldt and one from Crane, West Coast Demerara, Region Three.

            According to the Minister, on July 1 upon receiving the results of samples that were sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) in Trinidad and Tobago, it was confirmed that the disease has spread.

            The 12 more cases of the mosquito- borne disease have brought the total number of cases to 31 thus far.

            The Minister highlighted that at the moment, it is unknown whether these individuals contracted the disease in Berbice where it first originated, however, Dr. Morris Edwards, epidemiologist is analysing the data.

            Prior to these, there were 19 confirmed cases, all originating from the Canje, Berbice area, in Region Six. In late May Guyana recorded it first cases,   a toddler and a woman in her forties, both from the Canje area.

The Ministry’s vector control services immediately got into action and began conducting extensive fogging and spraying in the area.

            The Minister also added that due to the increase in the number of cases, heightened control methods will be put in place however, individuals have to keep their surroundings clean to avoid mosquitoes breeding.

He said that these mosquitoes do not only breed in dirty water, but also fairly fresh and clean water so one of the best solutions is to ensure all containers that can retain water and act as a breeding ground are disposed of, and drums and tanks used for storing water for household purposes are covered.

Further public health measures are still ongoing across the City to eliminate adult mosquitoes, including both indoor and outdoor fogging.

            Chikungunya is transmitted to humans by the Aedes Egypti mosquito. It can result in some long-term effects primarily joint pains. Depending on an individual’s body reaction after the incubation period, persons may experience pain even after seeking medical attention. This period can last from two to six days with symptoms lasting four to seven days after infection.

            Individuals experiencing any such symptoms are asked to visit a health facility as soon as possible.

            According to information from the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) as of June 27, 2014, a total of 259,723 suspected and 4,721 laboratory-confirmed chikungunya cases had been reported in the Caribbean, Central America, or South America.

The disease was first reported in the Caribbean in December 2013, and has since touched Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, French Guiana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, Martinique, Puerto Rico, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Maarten, Suriname, Turks and Caicos Islands, and US Virgin Islands.

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