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#486106 - 02/17/14 12:21 PM Chikungunya  
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Health authorities say persons who have contracted the mosquito borne disease, Chikungunya, should remain home as Dominica recorded more than 31 cases of the disease so far.

Chikungunya is a viral disease that is spread by the aedes aegypti mosquito and the island recorded its first case on January 16 this year.

“The numbers keep changing on a daily basis … we have a number of suspected cases and we have a number of confirmed cases. The last count that we have in terms of confirmed cases was 31 cases and we have other persons who have not been confirmed.

“We’re asking the persons with the disease to remain at home and to use mosquito nets when they are sleeping and other persons to use mosquito repellents as well,” said Chief Medical Officer Dr David Johnson, adding that it was advisable that people take precautionary measures to reduce the risk of spreading the disease.

“We’re asking persons to avoid the spreading of the disease or if they are infected with Chikungunya to ensure that they sleep under a mosquito net that is treated with insecticide,” he said, adding that the Ministry of Health would be sourcing treated mosquito nets for distribution.

Health authorities have said the disease have spread to several areas across the island and Dr. Johnson said most of the cases could “be managed at home without having to admit them to the hospital”.

He said there was no cause for alarm for the disease whose symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, rash, and joint pain.

Caribbean 360

#489883 - 04/24/14 04:50 AM Re: Chikungunya [Re: Marty]  
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Ministry of Health Says Get Ready For Chikungunya

You probably aren't familiar with the disease called Chikungunya – and it's not surprising since it is foreign to Belize – and until November of last year – it hadn't even appeared on this side of the world.  But now it has: Chikungunya, or Chik-V as it is called, appeared on the Caribbean island of St Martin at the end of last year, and it has been steadily spreading since then; it is now in 10 Caribbean countries, with 2,300 confirmed cases and about 17,000 suspected cases.  Thankfully, there have only been 6 deaths reported.  The viral disease is carried by mosquitoes, just like dengue or malaria and it spreads either by the travel of infected persons, or in shipping containers.  

The good news is that it hasn't come to Belize yet, or, for that matter, anywhere on the American mainland, but the bad news is that Belizean health authorities say it will come.  They had a sensitization session with health workers this morning and a press conference this afternoon.  The Director of Health Services says that conditions are ripe for Chik-V in Belize:…

Dr. Michael Pitts - Director of Health Services
"So, Belize has no case, but I must say that we have all the environmental conditions. We're tropical just like the Caribbean. The mosquitoes are there; the environmental conditions are there, and the level of interaction is happening where I think that it is really safe to say that it's not if, but when it will come here."

Dr. Francis Murray - Director of Vector Control Unit, Ministry of Health
"The most specific things that we can get is that usually, what we're doing is compared to almost having the same symptoms as that of dengue. It's just that the person can get a fever that can be a bit higher, but the person has severe, prostrating joint pain."

Dr. Michael Pitts
"The public health concern is that it lasts much longer when people get the disease. For example, dengue may last 7 to 10 days. But Chikungunya, with signs and symptoms, could last sometimes up to 6 months. So, imagine if you have a worker with Chikungunya; you have to see them leave work for 6 months."

So what can you do to keep Chik-v out of your life?  Well, it's just like malaria and dengue: you have to get rid of all those breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Pitts explained:

Dr. Michael Pitts - Director of Health Services
"We can't get rid of the mosquito; it's here. So, our general approach is to try and mitigate the numbers. We could do things around our environment to limit growth of mosquitos. So, we know that old receptacles, pans, cups, tires, etc. are breeding areas for mosquitos. We know that the drain that is not necessarily flowing, or the collection of water, we need to do certain things about those. So, our approach will be to engaging municipalities, whether at the level of villages, or town boards, or Cities, to engage them in being involved in clean up campaigns. The average citizen can do their part in terms of getting rid of the clutter around their houses. From our side, we will augment that where it is difficult to remove stagnant water, we would do our part by spraying. Of course, we still have our foggers will go out and do the fogging." 

Chik-v is a viral disease, so antibiotics are of no use. There is no vaccination against it, and pretty much the only thing that affected persons are advised to take are non aspirin painkillers and anti-inflammatory medicines. 

The deaths so far have been recorded in the islands of Martinique, Guadeloupe and St. Martin.

Channel 7

New Vector Borne Virus Threatening Belize

There is a new vector borne Virus posing a threat to Belize. It is called Chikunguya and according Dr. Michael Pitts, the Director of Health Services, “It is not a question of if it will reach Belize but when”.

Chikunguya was first discovered after an outbreak in 1952 on the Makonde Plateau which is located along the border between Mozambique and Tanganyika (the mainland part of modern day Tanzania). The name is derived from a description in the Makonde language meaning "that which bends up" and according to Dr. Pitts, “the name says it all”. The disease shares similarity with Dengue. Symptoms include a fever up to 40 degrees Celsius or 104 degrees Fahrenheit. The fever typically last for two days and ends abruptly. However, the duration of the signature symptom, arthritis like joint pain, varies by patient. The severe joint pain may last 5 to 15 days, a few months or, in some cases, a few years. There is no cure for the virus. Dr. Pitts says, “What we do is treat the symptoms.” Fortunately for those who may be infected, the fatality rate for Chikunguya is extremely low.

Dr. Pitts says the Ministry is on a public awareness campaign on the disease because they are certain it will reach Belize. Chikunguya was first detected in the Americas in St. Martin in late November of 2013. The World Health Organization confirmed local transmission of the virus in the country in December. Local transmission means that mosquitoes in the area have been infected with chikungunya and are spreading it to people. This is the first time that local transmission of chikungunya has been reported in the Americas. The virus is transmitted from host to host by the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. Since the virus was first detected in St. Martin in late November 2013, there have been confirmed cases in Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Dominican Republic, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Kitts and Sint Maarten (Dutch). Both Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes are in Belize. Prevention in the case of Chikunguya is similar to that of any vector borne disease. Residents are encouraged to clean their living area and destroy breeding grounds.

The Guardian

Chikungunya will come, says DHS

Mosquito-borne illness causes longer and more painful illness than dengue

Chikungunya means ‘that which bends up’. It is a Makonde word (one of the local languages in Tanzania).

Chikungunya is a mosquito-borne, viral disease new to the Caribbean but which has infected millions of people in Africa and Asia since it was first recorded in 1952, and although health officials who began their first sensitization session with medical professionals here today say that the disease rarely ends in death, they stress that its morbidity is high, as it can cause a painful and debilitating illness for as many as 6 months.

The United States Center for Disease Control (CDC) says the “symptoms can be severe and disabling.”

While there is no reported case of Chikungunya yet in Belize, Director of Health Services Dr. Michael Pitts said at today’s session that, “We don’t think we can prevent the disease from coming here, but we can mitigate the impact.”

Pitts said that there is no cure, no vaccine – but a person can only get it once.

There are also fears that the spread of the disease—carried mainly by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the same insect which transmits dengue—could have severe adverse impacts on tourism-dependent economies such as Belize. Pitts said that they have looked at the tourist trade and ports of call for ships which come to Belize in planning their response strategy.

Most Belizeans have no clue what Chikungunya is. Dr. Francis Morey, MD.MPH, Focal Point for Communicable Diseases and National Tuberculosis Coordinator in the Belize Ministry of Health, and Lorna Perez, Surveillance Officer at the ministry’s Epidemiology Unit, prepared a presentation for today’s meeting with health professionals, which provides details. (That presentation is available at

Chikungunya is an emerging public health concern, since it can cause an afflicted employee to be away from work for an extended period of time. The DHS advises Belizeans to take a proactive approach. As for his recommendation to persons most at risk, DHS Pitts said that people working in the tourist trade who go into places where there are lots of mosquitos should follow a common sense approach and use mosquito repellant and wear long sleeves. He noted that at dusk and dawn, mosquitos, which may carry the alpha virus which causes the disease, tend to swarm a lot.

Chikungunya is found mainly in Africa and Asia, but it was introduced to the Caribbean last year, possibly by a traveler. It was first reported in Saint Martin in November 2013—the first case in the Americas—and as of April 7, 2014, there were more 3,000 confirmed cases and more than 17,000 more suspected cases. No country on the mainland of the Americas has yet confirmed the presence of Chikungunya, Pitts told the media.

The closest cases to Belize have been reported in the Dominican Republic, just 1,209 miles away, where 150 to 200 had been treated earlier this month for symptoms attributed to Chikungunya, which causes high fever, rash, fatigue and intense muscle and joint pain.

“Most patients feel better within a week. In some people, the joint pain may persist for months. People at risk for more severe disease include newborns infected around the time of birth, older adults (e”65 years), and people with medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease,” the CDC added.

As for treatment, it said that, “There is no medicine to treat chikungunya virus infection or disease. To decrease the symptoms, one should get plenty of rest, drink fluids to prevent dehydration, and take medicines, such as ibuprofen, naproxen, acetaminophen, or paracetamol, to relieve fever and pain.”

Antibiotics won’t work, since the disease is caused by a virus, and DHS Pitts said that the use of aspirin for fever and pain is discouraged, and that steroid use should be limited. Morey explained that the use of steroids could interfere with an individual’s ability to develop immunity to the disease.

The virus could be spread to Belize by an infected person, or onboard containers which ship goods such as tires, which may be harboring infected mosquitos, Pitts explained.

Morey said that the incubation period for the disease, the timespan between exposure to the virus and the onset of symptoms, spans 1 to 12 days. The first manifestations of the illness are a high fever, bone and joint pain, muscle pain, headaches, abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting, Morey explained. He said that “severe prostrating” joint pain which impairs walking and causes the afflicted person to walk in a bent position is one of the main signs that should be used to distinguish Chikungunya from dengue.

According to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), 3,265 cases were confirmed in the Caribbean as of April 7, 2014. Already, Martinique has reported 1,284 confirmed and 11,400 suspected cases of Chikungunya. The Caribbean has reported 6 deaths to date from the disease in countries such as Guadeloupe, Martinique and Saint Martin – the country where the first Caribbean case and the first confirmed case in the Americas was reported. In St. Martin, 790 cases of Chikungunya have been confirmed and 2,840 more suspected cases have been logged.

DHS Pitts said that in some countries, the attack rate from the virus is as high as 33% or 1 in 3 persons. He said that while they don’t have specifics on why some persons have died in the Caribbean from Chikungunya, people who succumb tend to have premorbid conditions such as heart disease or immune-suppression. The Ministry did not provide information on the age of the persons who have died in the Caribbean from the mosquito-borne disease.

“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,” CARPHA noted.

CARPHA said that symptoms appear between 4 to 7 days after the bite of an infected mosquito, and the majority of clinical signs and symptoms last 3 to 10 days, but joint pain may persist longer. The need for hospitalization is said to be rare.

Children tend to have a harder time with such diseases because of their lower immune status, and parents should be especially careful to keep them from getting dehydrated due to the high fever associated with the disease, Pitts advised.

Dr. C. James Hospedales, Executive Director of CARPHA, said that the theme for World Health Day 2014 – Small Bite, BIG THREAT — was very timely and of great importance to the Caribbean region. Each member state has high infestation levels of the mosquito, Hospedales said. “The main tool, therefore, for prevention and control of these outbreaks is through control of the mosquito vector,” she added.

Hospedales stressed that mosquito-borne diseases are preventable with proper vector control strategies, as well as personal protective measures.

“Individuals and communities are encouraged to work together to rid their premises and communities of containers which can contribute to mosquito breeding. Old tires, bottles, cans and any containers which can collect water should be properly discarded; domestic water storage containers such as drums, barrels and buckets should be securely covered to prevent mosquito access. Persons can reduce exposure to mosquito bites by using mosquito repellants, sleeping under mosquito nets, wearing long sleeved shirts and long pants and screening windows and doors,” she said.

Hospedales added that, “Governments also have a responsibility to make a political commitment to invest in strengthening existing vector control and education and surveillance programs, to make them more efficient at preventing and/or responding to outbreaks of vector-borne diseases.”

Health officials are concerned that without the proper measures to control mosquito breeding, Belize could suffer an outbreak. The Ministry says that it will step up its spraying regime, but citizens are advised to keep their yards clean.

“Do things around your environment to limit the growth of mosquitos,” Pitts said, urging that cleanup campaigns should be put in place before mid-May, since the mosquito season coincides with the rainy and fruit season.

Pitts said that in battling dengue, lessons have been learned on taking the environmental approach to control the mosquito population.

Belize is in the process of acquiring test kits that would enable experts here to conduct confirmatory testing. DHS Pitts said that the CDC is offering ELISA test kits, similar to those used to test for dengue. Belize also makes use of lab facilities at CARPHA, which is the back-up lab for the CARICOM region.


#492276 - 06/14/14 05:07 AM Re: Chikungunya [Re: Marty]  
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Dominica battles Chikungunya disease

Dominican health officials are faced with what is described as a major battle in the fight against Chikungunya because of the reluctance of Dominicans to accept that the disease is transmitted by mosquitoes.

Dr. Candia Jacob, the district medical officer has said that “one of the major barriers is that people are reluctant to believe that the mosquito is involved. If they are not convinced, they are not going to do much.” She said that the matter has gotten so bad that environmental health officers have resorted to threatening people with the law if they don’t get rid of containers that breed mosquitoes.

“We have the environmental health officers actually having to go to homes and overturn the drums and threaten people that they are going to put them in jail”, Jacob said.

Dominica has registered over 2,000 confirmed cases of Chikungunya, a viral disease tramsitted mainly by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. It brings with it symptoms similar to those of dengue. These 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.

The Reporter

#492517 - 06/20/14 04:56 AM Re: Chikungunya [Re: Marty]  
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Belize Public Health On High Alert after Chick-V Detected In Salvador

Tonight, Belizean health officials are on high alert after Chikungunya, the virus called Chik-V has been detected in Salvador. Regional news reports quote Salvadoran Health Minister Violeta Menjivar as saying that her nation has reports of at least 1200 cases of the debilitating virus. Panama has also reported cases and Costa Rica has suspected cases.

We stress that test results have not confirmed any of those cases. But, clinical assessments and the proximity to Belize is enough to trigger major concern in Belize since there are close ties between Salvador and Belize - and travel between both countries happens on a daily basis.

On Monday, June 16th, the Caribbean Public Health Agency confirmed that to date, cases of Chikungunya have been confirmed in 23 countries or territories. They say that the total number of confirmed/probable cases has reached 4,805.

Martinique has 1,500 confirmed cases and 3,500 suspected cases, while the Dominican Republic has 18 confirmed cases and 77,000 suspected cases.

Symptoms are fever, joint pain, headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash.

Channel 7

#492556 - 06/21/14 05:33 AM Re: Chikungunya [Re: Marty]  
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Chikungunya spreads to Cuba

Cuba has confirmed its first six cases of the mosquito-borne chikungunya virus, making that country the latest Caribbean nation to confirm cases of the virus. According to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) there had been 4,600 confirmed and 166,000 suspected cases in the Caribbean as of mid-June.

According to the Cuban health ministry, people with the virus had recently travelled to Haiti or the Dominican Republic where thousands of people have reported suffering from the severe headaches, high fever and intense joint pain symptomatic for the virus.

Officials said they would strengthen surveillance and control measures of travellers arriving from countries mainly in the Caribbean. The virus is also spreading quickly in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, and there have been confirmed cases in most of the Caribbean island states.

The virus has long been present in Africa and Asia but it was only detected in the Caribbean in December. On Wednesday, El Salvador put seven municipalities on alert after its first cases were confirmed.

There is currently no vaccine or treatment for chikungunya. Symptoms include the sudden onset of fever and joint pain, particularly affecting the hands, wrists, ankles and feet. Most patients recover after a few days but in some cases the joint pain may persist for weeks, months or even longer

The Reporter

Chikungunya: the virus that "bends up"

Chikungunya is a virus transmitted by Aedes aegypi and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes (the same mosquito species that transmit dengue). The virus's name comes from the Makonde language of Tanzania and means "that which bends up."

#492755 - 06/26/14 07:33 AM Re: Chikungunya [Re: Marty]  
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Same Mosquito Specie That Carries Dengue Virus Is The Same For Chikungunya

Yesterday we told you about the press conference that the Ministry of Health will be holding tomorrow regarding the emerging threat of the Chikungunya disease that is quickly spreading throughout the Caribbean.

Reports show that the virus has recently spread to 17 countries in the Caribbean, including Haiti and Cuba, where the number of chikungunya cases now tops 189,000, according to the Pan American Health Organization. And as of last week, 80 cases of chikungunya have been reported in 13 U.S. States.

The good news is that there has been no reported case in the country of Belize.

And authorities in the Ministry of Health intend to keep it that way by reinforcing the awareness of the Dengue virus. This is because the same species of mosquito that carries the Dengue virus is carrier of the Chikungunya Disease.

Hilmar Manzanilla- Sup. Northern Region Vector Control

“The Chikungunya first of all is caused as a virus right, and it is transmitted by the same mosquito, the same vector, that transmits dengue, we have a program set out already many years ago which started to be implemented with measures to control the vector that transmits dengue, so nothing changed in terms of the habitat, in terms of the control measures, in terms of the vector when it comes to the dengue which is the same one for Chikungunya so since we have set up a program for dengue the same measures we are using for dengue it is the same one we are using for Chikungunya getting prepared right now we are reinforcing and the dengue Chikungunya disease right, so what we are doing now is doing more ULV spray, the truck that carries the machine spraying in the town and villages, we also doing thermal foggy because the mosquito lives around human habitation so when it hatches with the yard it enters the home so what we do is spray inside the houses to kill all adult mosquitos that lives under the bed in the closets in the kitchen etc. etc. We are doing more health education in school and on the radio.”

Cleaning campaigns have been carried out in the village of Chan Chen and more are to follow including the Village of Libertad. Hilmer Manzanilla, Supervisor of the Northern Region Vector Control Unit described to us the symptoms patients goes through when infected by the virus.

Hilmar Manzanilla- Sup. Northern Region Vector Control

“Chikungunya has very high fever, sometimes thirty eight and a half degrees Celsius, headache, body ache but most importantly of all it develops swelling in your joints, swelling s in your feet, in your elbow, in your wrist, that is Chikungunya, as a matter of fact, Chikungunya comes from an African dialect that means to bend over so whenever you have Chikungunya and you have like arthritis it causes pain and burning and swelling in your joint so the person tends to bend over to try to withhold the pain or whatever he is suffering right, and so he walks in a bend over position right so that is what Chikungunya means.”

In order to keep Belize free of the Chikungunya disease, the Ministry of Health advices residents to maintain their lots clean at all times.

Hilmar Manzanilla- Sup. Northern Region Vector Control

“What the person needs to do is to keep their yard clean vegetation and free from any water holding containers, artificial containers, such as drums, tanks, stoves, old tires you name it, plastic bags, old empty cans and bottles anything that can hold water, if you don’t want it in your yard it is rubbish so why keep rubbish in your yard, if you need your tires put your tires in a safe place that it won’t catch any water, if you keep your drum to hold any rain water for your cooking or whatever cover it properly, if you have your Mennonite tanks, you have an inlet and an outlet you cover both entrances so that you avoid any mosquito from entering the containers right, if you have money and you can afford you need to screen your windows, your doors so as to prevent any mosquitos from entering into your homes, whenever the machines goes around spraying it is very important to open your doors and windows so as to permit the spray to enter your house so as to kill all those mosquitos.”

Persons believed to be infected with the virus are asked to visit the nearest health center.


#492778 - 06/27/14 04:24 AM Re: Chikungunya [Re: Marty]  
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Chik-V In Mexico, Salvador, Surely Coming To Belize

The Chikungunya virus - also known as Chik-V for short has now been identified in Mexico. Today, international news reports said that the Mexican Undersecretary for Health confirmed that a citizen who travelled to Antigua and Barbuda got sick a few weeks after he came back. So, that means Chik-V has appeared in Salvador and Mexico - one a neighbor to Belize, the other nearby. In fact, in just a few months, it has spread from a single country to 28, and counting; there are 180,000 suspected cases, 5 thousand cases confirmed and 21 deaths.

And, local health authorities say it's not if, but when Chik-V will come to Belize. But it hasn't come yet. That was underscored at a press conference at the Central Health region today:..

Dr. Michael Pitts, Director of Health Service "There is no known case of Chikungunya in Belize. We cannot say that we will prevent Chikungunya from coming to the country. Our goal is to try and reduce it to a small number as possible. It's not if, it will come here and because we won't be able to get rid of the vector we will have to continue manage that - those cases."

And managing it means the ministry of health and you have to keep down mosquito populations. The Ministry says it will do its part: its fleet of vehicles for mosquito spraying has recently been increased - and they seemed ready to blitz the adult mosquitoes and the larvae:...

Dr. Michael Pitts, Director of Health Service
"Our objective ladies and gentlemen is to mitigate. We can't eradicate mosquitoes but we can control the population to tolerable levels."

Kim Bautista - Vector Control Chief of Operation
"Funding for the vector control program has tripled the budget that we would see on an annual basis. The European Union funding alone combine with government and PAHO input runs somewhere around 2.2 million Belize dollars. The global fund project runs roughly for this year about $200.000 Belize dollars. What that has allowed us to do is the immediately the procurement of vehicles to the tune of just about $700,000 Belize dollars, foggers, just about $100,000 Belize dollars."

Dr. Michael Pitts, Director of Health Service
"Those vehicles are now in country and will be release by the agencies to us sometime over next week. This is very timely. We are now entering into the full rainy season I think it is very strategic and timely that we have these vehicles and we will bring them into full commission over the next week or so. In addition to that we have acquire 6 ULV machine - additional ULV machine. The last time we spoke we had 16 functional, so we now augmenting those to where we have 22. This means that we will be able to have machines in all district towns operating both in the urban and the rural areas."

Francis Westby, Technical Advisor - Dengue Program, MOH
"There is a blitz that we are planning for next week when we get the 9 vehicles running where we will be spraying Belize City taking out all the vehicles for a couple day to cover all the areas. We tend to leave it and say it's the responsibility of the Ministry of Health, it isn't. The public needs to do their share. 80% of what can be done to control the mosquito population can be done by the general public. All the ULV spraying, all the larva-ciding that we do will not control the mosquitoes unless the general public do what they should do; keep the properties clean. I have a simple thing that I always advise to do is when you cook, take a tablespoon of cooking oil and throw it in the drains in front of your property or whatever stagnant water you have around."

And so they've told you what you can do to prevent it, but cases will arise - and so what symptoms should you be on the lookout for? Dr. Francis Morey explained those:

Dr. Francis Murray, Focal Point for Communicable Disease, MOH
"Chikungunya, as a re-emerging disease, presents itself with high fever of more than thirty-eight degrees, severe arthritis or what is referred to also as bending illness. This arthritis is characteristic that it affects mostly the small joints, those of the wrists, the hands but it also may affect the larger joints and has a characteristic that is said to be migratory. The rash that it presents is much more severe than that of dengue. Both diseases may present themselves in a same patient but to be able to differentiate between the two the joint pains in Chikungunya is of the smaller joints. It does affect the bigger joints but it also has a characteristic of being migratory and what it does for example, it swells up the joint, you can also see swelling of the joints. Its debilitating - the person can't get up and bends."

38 degrees Celsius is 100.4 Fahrenheit.

Notably, there has been no increase in dengue cases this year: in 1500 tests performed only 200 cases have been confirmed.

Channel 7

Asian Tiger Mosquito - Attacking


Chikungunya is an infection caused by the Chikungunya virus. It causes an illness with an acute febrile phase lasting two to five days, followed by a longer period of joint pains in the extremities; this pain may persist for years in some cases.

The disease is transmitted similarly to dengue fever. It is transmitted to humans by virus-carrying Aedes mosquitoes. Specifically, there are two species of mosquitoes, A. albopictus and A. aegypti, that are extrinsic hosts (vectors) of chikungunya virus. The strain of chikungunya spreading to the US from the Caribbean is most easily spread by A. aegypti. There is concern that this strain of chikungunya could mutate to make the A. albopictus vector more efficient. If this mutation were to occur, chikungunya would be more of a public health concern to the US. The A. albopictus or "Asian Tiger" mosquito is more widespread in the US and is more aggressive than the A. aegypti. It is known that monkeys, apes, and rodents act as a reservoir for the virus. Having rodents as a viral reservoir for chikungunya differs from that of dengue which has only humans and nonhuman primates as hosts.

Signs and symptoms The incubation period of chikungunya disease ranges from one to twelve days, typically two to three. The majority of those infected will develop symptoms. Symptoms include a fever up to 40 °C (104 °F), a petechial or maculopapular rash of the trunk and occasionally the limbs, and arthralgia or arthritis affecting multiple joints.

Other nonspecific symptoms can include headache, nausea, vomiting, conjunctivitis, slight photophobia and partial loss of taste. Ocular inflammation from chikungunya may present as iridocyclitis. Retinal lesions may also occur. Pedal edema (swelling of legs) is observed in many people, the cause of which remains obscure as it is not related to any cardiovascular, renal or hepatic abnormalities.

Typically, the fever lasts for two days and then ends abruptly. However, other symptoms—namely joint pain, intense headache, insomnia and an extreme degree of prostration—last for a variable period; usually for about five to seven days. People have complained of joint pains for much longer time periods; some as long as two years, depending on their age. Recovery from the disease varies by age. Younger people recover within 5 to 15 days; middle-aged people recover in 1 to 2.5 months. Recovery is longer for the elderly. The severity of the disease as well as its duration is less in younger people and pregnant women. In pregnant women, no untoward effects are noticed after the infection.


The most effective means of prevention are protection against contact with the disease-carrying mosquitoes and mosquito control. These include using insect repellents with substances such as DEET (N,N-diethyl-metatoluamide; also known as N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide or NNDB), icaridin (also known as picaridin and KBR3023), PMD (p-menthane-3,8-diol,a substance derived from the lemon eucalyptus tree), or IR3535. Wearing bite-proof long sleeves and trousers also offers protection.

In addition, garments can be treated with pyrethroids, a class Asian Tiger Mosquito - Attacking of insecticides that often has repellent properties. Vaporized pyrethroids (for example in mosquito coils) are also insect repellents. Securing screens on windows and doors will help to keep mosquitoes out of the house. In the case of the dayactive Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, however, this will have only a limited effect, since many contacts between the mosquitoes and humans occur outside.


Currently there is no specific treatment. Attempts to relieve the symptoms include the use of NSAIDs such as naproxen, paracetamol (acetaminophen) and fluids. Aspirin is not recommended.

The Arm Of An Infected Patient

The Star

#494647 - 08/15/14 11:40 AM Re: Chikungunya [Re: Marty]  
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MOH explains why no CHIKV in Belize

The Ministry of Health has given an explanation as to why there has been no reported cases of Chikungunya in Belize despite the epidemic reaching over a half million cases within the region.

Kim Bautista, chief operator of the Vector Control Unit in the ministry, attributed low levels of travel between Belize and countries such as Costa Rica and Haiti which have high numbers of reported cases.

“If you look at our interaction, we don’t have that level of locals travelling to those areas,” Bautista said, “and so far there haven’t been any confirmed cases of local infection in any of our immediate neighbouring countries.”

Bautista added that in terms of preparedness, the MOH has been vigilant in capacity building for lab technicians and has acquired test kits from the Centers for disease Control and Prevention which will allow for CHIKV testing to be done in Belize.

“We will still send samples out to CARPHA (Caribbean Public Health Agency) to cross check, but we are in the position that if there is a suspected case it can be diagnosed right here on Belize,” Bautista added.

Last week the Pan American Health Organization released a report showing that Chikungunya cases within the region had exceeded a half million. The total count at the release of the report was 513,393, with the majority of the cases being found in the Dominican Republic.

Six more people were also recorded to have died from the sickness, bringing the total number of CHIKV related deaths to 32 within the region.

The Reporter

#495777 - 09/17/14 05:42 AM Re: Chikungunya [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 52,689
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline

Chikungunya Detected Next Door to Belize

Eight cases of chikungunya have been confirmed by health authorities in the central city of Escuintla, in neighboring Guatemala. Guatemala has become the second Central American country after El Saldavor, to have confirmed case of the disease and health officials in that country believe that the disease made its way from El Salvador into Guatemala. Belize Health officials have been placed on alert and according to the CEO in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Peter Allen, the Ministry is keeping an eye on the matter.

CEO, M.O.H Dr. Peter Allen “The issue of Chickungunya is a very serious concern to the Ministry. As you know, it is a disease, a virus that is carried by the same vector that carries Dengue, the Aedes Egypti mosquito and the Aedes Egypti Mosquito is prevalent in our population in our country so we are extremely concerned about Chickungunya and doing everything we can to heighten our vector control activities around the country.” Chikungunya is a virus transmitted by the bite of mosquitoes such as Aedes aegypti. It causes high fever, joint pain, headache and muscle. Although it rarely causes death, joint pain can last for months or years and sometimes become a cause of chronic pain and disability for some people. There is no specific treatment or vaccine available to prevent infection of this virus. The death toll from the epidemic is now 113.


#496272 - 10/01/14 04:09 AM Re: Chikungunya [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 52,689
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline

Mosquito Virus That Walloped Caribbean Spreads in U.S.

A mosquito-borne virus that can cause debilitating joint pain lasting for years has spread to the continental U.S. after infecting hundreds of thousands of people in the Caribbean and Central America.

The virus is called Chikungunya, an African name meaning “to become contorted.” While the illness, first identified in Tanzania in 1952, has long bedeviled Africa and Asia, the only recorded cases in the U.S. before July involved patients who contracted the virus abroad.

Now, 11 cases have been confirmed as originating in Florida, spurring concern this may be the beginning of the type of explosive growth seen elsewhere from a disease that has no vaccine or cure. Medical and environmental experts are debating how best to quell the outbreak before it takes off.

“In a way it’s surprising it hasn’t been here yet,” said Scott Weaver, a professor at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

Patients who contract Chikungunya have joint swelling and pain, fever, headache and rash for about a week, though some symptoms last months or years in some patients, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While the disease generally isn’t fatal, more than 100 people have died in the Western Hemisphere since December, according to the Pan American Health Organization. Treatment includes hydration, rest and medicine that reduces fever or pain such ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

10,000 Victims

Now that Chikungunya is in Florida, it could infect 10,000 people in that state alone, according to Walter Tabachnick, the director of the Florida Medical Entymology Laboratory, who said his estimate is based on the exponential growth of other outbreaks. More than 700,000 people, for instance, are suspected of being infected with the virus in South America, Central America and the Caribbean since it appeared there, according to the Pan American Health Organization.

An outbreak of several thousand people in Florida could swamp existing medical facilities, putting at risk the state’s large elderly population, according to Tabachnick.

“Ten thousand cases would be a disaster in the terms of, these are people that are sick enough that they’re reporting to their doctors in the hospital,” he said by telephone. “So even our medical facilities could be overwhelmed.”

Other medical experts suggest that when mosquitoes disappear during the Florida winter, any outbreak will lessen. Still, it could remain a problem in areas of the state that have already been susceptible to other mosquito diseases, Weaver said in a telephone interview.

‘Focal Outbreaks’

“I don’t think we’ll see outbreaks that large,” Weaver said, referring to the outbreaks in the Caribbean and Central America. “But we’ll see small focal outbreaks where an infected traveler comes home to their community.”

In part, the disease spread through the Caribbean and Central America because many countries in that region lack the financial resources or sophisticated mosquito killing systems needed to prevent major outbreaks, according to Durland Fish, a professor of epidemiology at Yale University who studied Chikungunya’s spread on the Caribbean island of Dominica.

Even with money and insect-killing expertise, Chikungunya may be hard to contain, according to Fish. The two types of mosquitoes that carry the virus tend live to among humans, inside people’s houses, he said. That’s unlike West Nile virus, which is spread by a mosquito that lives outside.

“So you have to get inside the houses and spray them with insecticide,” Fish said. In Dominica “we tried to isolate people that were sick with a bed-net so mosquitoes couldn’t feed on them and get infected.”

Immunity Gain

Fish said officials didn’t have the proper kind of insecticide or enough bed-nets to contain the spread of Chikungunya. The disease peaked on the island toward the middle of the year, waning after enough people who contracted the illness built up immunity, he said.

In Florida similar efforts to stop Chikungunya early on have faltered. Mosquito control efforts have been “particularly unsuccessful,” Tabachnick said. His laboratory has worked to convince people to remove standing water containers from their yards, such as buckets or clogged gutters, where Chikungunya-carrying mosquitoes lay eggs.

People in Florida “don’t see it as an imminent threat,” he said. “By the time it becomes an imminent threat it’s too late.”

The Florida Department of Health and the CDC have issued warnings on the illness and urged people to avoid mosquito bites if they become infected with Chikungunya, since that can infect the mosquitoes, and in turn spread the disease to more people. Tabachnick and Fish also expressed concerns about these efforts.

Vector Control

“I think that the health department and the vector control people -- the mosquito control people -- have to work very closely together, which is I think something that they don’t do very well here,” Fish said. “That’s probably something we haven’t had a lot of experience at.”

In response to questions about its collaborative efforts to control Chikungunya, health department spokeswoman Sheri Hutchinson said the department has a long history of working with the mosquito control agencies.

“As a member of Florida’s Mosquito Control Council, the department collaborates with Florida mosquito control district leaders to monitor and address arbovirus concerns,” she said in an e-mail.


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