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Caribbean must brace for “full impact” of Chikungunya – CARPHA

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Wednesday September 3, 2014, CMC – The Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) is warning the Caribbean to be prepared for the “full impact” of the mosquito-borne chikungunya virus eight months after the first case was detected.

CARPHA executive director Dr. James Hospedales told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that almost all Caribbean Community (CARICCOM) countries have now reported cases of the virus.

“There are a total of over 9,000 confirmed cases. There is an estimate in excess of 600,000 cases in total, most of those being from the bigger countries like the Dominican Republic and Haiti with 37 deaths in total.

“So it continues to spread, we will have an expert consultation next month to look at all the plans and also to see how we better inform and protect people and protect the economy of the region,” Dr. Hospedales told CMC.

HE SAID Caribbean governments were making a “valiant effort” in dealing with the virus, adding “what we have been doing has not been sufficient and the increase of dengue that we have seen in the last years is a marker that what we are doing is not working as well as it ought to work.

“That’s partly why we are having this experts meeting next month to look at what’s new in terms of the science and how can we better educate people and how can we deal with the mosquitoes that are so prevalent,” he added.

Chikungunya is a viral disease, carried mainly by the aedes aegypti mosquito and causes a dengue-like sickness.

Symptoms include a sudden high fever, severe pain in the wrists, ankles or knuckles, muscle pain, headache, nausea, and rash. Joint pain and stiffness are more common with chikungunya than with dengue.

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CMLF News Issue #7
27th January 2016