The Ministry of Health wishes to inform the general public of an imported case of the Chikungunya Virus in Dominica at this time. The confirmed case is an individual who travelled from the Island of St. Martin in December, 2013. There is no local transmission of Chikungunya in Dominica at this time. Presently the patient has recovered well and is at home. THERE IS NO NEED FOR ALARM. THERE IS NO OUTBREAK IN DOMINICA. However the Ministry has embarked on an active search to identify additional cases if any.
In December 2013, the Caribbean Public Health Agency,- CARPHA, issued a notification of the disease in St. Martín. This is the first time that locally-acquired cases of chikungunya have been detected in the Caribbean. As of January 10, 2014, CARPHA has reported confirmed cases not only in St. Martin, but in Guadeloupe, Martinique and the British Virgin Islands.
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. Persons who have these symptoms are advised to report to the nearest health centre or their personal health care provider
The symptoms appear between four to seven days after the bite of an infected mosquito. The majority of clinical signs and symptoms last three to 10 days, but joint pain may persist longer. Severe cases requiring hospitalisation are rare.
Currently, there is no vaccine or specific treatment for chikungunya, which has infected millions of people in Africa and Asia since the disease was first recorded in 1952.
Management of the disease in mainly focused on relief of the symptoms.
OnThursday January 16, 2014, the Ministry of Health Risk Management Task Force, convened a meeting to review and refine management strategies and guidelines which will shape the Ministry’s response to the situation.
The Ministry has initiated a rapid and coordinated response to the threat of the disease through planned strategies and programmes. These include:
- Integrated Vector Control Management— Community surveillance, source reduction, chemical management,.
- Strengthening of Port Health Programme, Epidemiological Surveillance and Health Care Services
- Public Education/ Awareness
The type of mosquito that transmits chikungunya is also known to transmit dengue fever. Measures used for controlling the spread of chikungunya are the same as those applied for the control of dengue fever as both diseases are transmitted by the same mosquito, Aedes aegypti. The best method of protection from this disease is to avoid mosquito bites. The public can protect themselves from mosquito bites by wearing long-sleeved clothing or long pants, and using insect repellents liberally, and mosquito nets at night.
The Ministry of Health is therefore urging the public to inspect their homes and yards weekly, and eliminate potential mosquito breeding sites indoors and outdoors by keeping water drums and barrels tightly covered, and throwing out stagnant water from flower vases, old tyres, and other containers that might act as breeding sites.
For More Information contact:
Anthelia James, Coordinator Health Promotion
Telephone; 266 3469, 266 3470