ROAD TOWN: The Ministry of Health has confirmed three cases of chickungunya disease, following reports of confirmed cases in St. Martin and increased surveillance throughout the British Virgin Islands (BVI).
“We have confirmed three cases on Jost Van Dyke,” said Medical Officer of Health Dr. Ronald Georges. “It is important to note that these confirmed cases were not exposed to travel, which alerts us that the virus is already in our mosquito population.”
Chickungunya is a viral disease transmitted to humans by the bite of infected mosquitoes.
Dr. Georges said the ministry has been co-ordinating a response to minimize the impact of chickungunya and implored the public to take appropriate measures to minimize exposure to mosquitoes.
To help combat the disease, the health division has stepped up its fogging program and will address “hotspot” areas known for mosquito breeding.
Georges said chickungunya causes symptoms similar to dengue fever, which last two to five days. Symptoms include rash, arthritis-like pain affecting multiple joints, headaches, conjunctival infection, back pain, nausea, vomiting, polyarteritis and a fever of 102 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
“Anyone experiencing one or more of these symptoms should contact their healthcare provider immediately,” he said. “Persons are urged to be vigilant in inspecting their premises for mosquito breeding sites.”
Georges said the following measures should be taken to keep mosquitoes out of homes: removing catchment of still water, cover containers storing water and placing a protective net over cribs to protect babies. In addition, the use of insect repellent on adults and children is also useful. Clinicians and healthcare providers on the BVI have been asked to continue to report syndromic data, especially fever surveillance, within 24 hours for continuous monitoring.
The Environmental Health Division will continue surveillance and control measures at ports of entry. However, residents are asked to remain vigilant in preventing mosquitoes from breeding around their homes and businesses.