Chikungunya cases in St Lucia spiral out of control

overhead view of castries st lucia and caribbean sea

St. Lucia health authorities have reported that the mosquito-borne disease, Chikungunya, has now spiraled out of control, affecting persons in all 17 constituencies on the 238-square-mile island.

Surveillance Officer within the Epidemiology Unit of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Michelle Francois, has confirmed that almost all communities in St Lucia have been affected. Though not stating the specific number of individuals confirmed to have the virus in St. Lucia, Francois said there are more cases on the ground than those that have reached hospitals and community health centres. She disclosed that the Caribbean Public Health Agency has mandated the ministry to test only persons presenting chikungunya symptoms who have been hospitalised, are pregnant and/or are very sick. “Although we are not testing everyone …the confirmed numbers that we are seeing will always be less than what is on the ground,” she said.

Francois said the ministry anticipated the spike in the spread of chikungunya simply because the local population does not have immunity to the virus. [. . . ]

Unlike Dengue, Chikungunya can be contracted by an individual only once, since it gives lifelong immunity. [. . . ]

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