St. Lucia Braces for Increase in Cases of Chikungunya Disease

Aedes albopictus : vecteur du chikungunya.

As indicated in a 2012 Live Science article, the name of the disease, chikungunya, means “that which bends” in an African language, and it describes the posture of its victims, bent over by severe joint pain. The most important factor that the article underlines is that the spread of this mosquito-borne viral disease has been accelerated by global warming. And here we are in 2014, and it seems one island after another has been reporting cases of the disease (as you can see by the proliferation of articles and posts such as Chikungunya: Mosquito-borne virus arrives in Dominican Republic, Threatwatch: Chikungunya may explode with rainy season, and Chikungunya In The Caribbean: Eight Cases Confirmed In Saint Barthelemy.) Here are excerpts of the latest article on the spread of chikungunya.

Health authorities say there could be more cases of the chikungunya disease in St. Lucia, after the island earlier this week announced the confirmation of its first case of the mosquito-borne disease.

“There is a possibility that other persons on the island may actually have the disease,” said Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr. Merlene Frederick. Dr. Frederick said there’s a spectrum in terms of the clinical presentation of the disease with some people actually contracting it without symptoms of fever and just mild joint pain. “We know chickungunya is transmitted by mosquitoes so as long as we have an infected person and mosquitoes are around and bite them, there is a possibility of transmission,” the CMO noted.

She said if St Lucia has a low mosquito population it is likely that the island would have a small chikungunya problem and conversely a high mosquito population would result in a “more serious outbreak.” Dr. Frederick said it was for that reason that the Ministry of Health is encouraging citizens to ensure that they start eliminating breeding places for mosquitoes.

“If we can keep the mosquito population down there’s a good chance we can have a low impact in terms of the chikungunya virus,” the CMO said, adding that the Ministry of Health was “in a good place” in terms of its public awareness, which intensified after the severe weather disaster in December last year.

[. . .] The first case of the disease in the Caribbean was reported in the French island of St. Martin last year. Since then it has spread to several countries with Dominica Tuesday urging nationals to adhere to measures to prevent the spread of the chikungunya disease on the island.

For full article, see http://www.caribbean360.com/news/st_lucia_news/1107427.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter#axzz2y2Zm64TP

See 2012 article at http://www.livescience.com/20173-mosquito-virus-disease-york.html

For photo above and more information about controlling the disease, see http://www.drrajeshkrgupta.com/chikungunya%20cause.html

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