St. Kitts records first case of Chikungunya, no need for alarm

The CMO indicated that the Ministry of Health was notified of the Federation’s first confirmed case of Chikungunya – a 30 year old male resident of St. Kitts, who was hospitalized and discharged without complications two weeks ago.  Confirmation testing was done by the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), in Trinidad and Tobago, they added.  

There is no need for alarm or panic said Dr. Martin. 

On December 12, 2013, residents were informed about the first cases of Chikungunya in the Caribbean which emerged in St. Martin/St. Maarten.  Since then, over two thousand cases have been reported in the several islands.    

Chikungunya is a viral disease which is transmitted to humans by the same mosquitoes that spread Dengue.  

Like Dengue, Chikungunya is characterized by fever and pain which appear up 3 – 7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.   Other symptoms include headache, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and rash. 

There is no risk of bleeding complications with Chikungunya which distinguishes it from Dengue, added Dr. Martin.     

A person can have either Dengue or Chikungunya without showing symptoms.  Such a person has a strong immune system boosted by the natural vitamins and minerals found in local fruits, vegetables, provisions and homemade beverages.  Junk food, chemicalized drinks, excess alcohol and tiredness reduce the body’s defenses. 

There is no vaccine and no medicine cure for Chikungunya.  Treatment is directed at relieving the symptoms of pain and fever using Paracetamol; not Aspirin or Ibuprofen.  Symptoms may last up to 10 days.  Recovery from an infection leads to lifelong protection. 

Prevention actions for Chikungunya are exactly the same as those for Dengue.  Residents are urged to continue searching for mosquito breeding sites in and around the house.  Any object or thing that can hold a single drop of water or more is a mosquito breeding site and must be emptied or destroyed and bagged for collection and disposal.  Common breeding sites include bottles, plastic bags, pots, pans, cans, tyres, coconut shells, flower vases, Styrofoam containers, and water storage containers.  

Other personal prevention actions include wearing light colored, long sleeved shirts and long pants; staying indoors during dusk and dawn if possible; installing mosquito screens in windows and doorways; applying topical mosquito repellent; and using mosquito nets. 

The Environmental Health Departments on both islands will continue their mosquito eradication campaigns.  The cooperation of residents is requested.   

There are no travel and trade restrictions in place; none are required, advised the Chief Medical Officer.  

For further information, Martin suggested that residents contact their Community Health Center or personal physician. 

 

 

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