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Dengue, a mosquito-borne viral disease, killed about five students in St. VIncent and the Grenadines between 2020 and January 2021.
Dengue, a mosquito-borne viral disease, killed about five students in St. VIncent and the Grenadines between 2020 and January 2021.

The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) on Wednesday confirmed 12 new cases of the mosquito-borne virus chikungunya in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, bringing to 15 the number of confirmed cases in the country.

All 15 cases are on the Grenadine island of Bequia, the Ministry of Health said on Friday.

Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected aedes aegypti mosquito resulting in fever and severe joint pain. Other symptoms include muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash.

Persons experiencing such signs and symptoms are strongly advised to establish contact with their health care provider, the Ministry of Health said.

The illness was first detected in the Caribbean in December 2013, in St Martin, and Antigua and St Vincent and the Grenadines have become the latest countries to declare an outbreak.

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The head of the CARPHA, Dr. James Hospedales, has declared the chikungunya virus has reached epidemic proportions in the Caribbean.

“By definition this is an epidemic since it represents an unusual number of cases of this problem where we would never have it before,” he told the Caribbean Media Corporation on Thursday.

Hospedales said that as of April 28, there were 4,108 probable cases in 14 countries across the region.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Heath in Kingstown said that the Insect Vector Control Unit will continue intensified vector control activities, including fogging operations on Bequia.

“Professionals within the Ministry will continue to participate in interactive programmes on radio stations and conduct educational sessions in various communities on the mainland and also on the Grenadine islands to build awareness of the threat of the disease and how it can be controlled and prevented,” Luis de Shong, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health said on Friday.

2 replies on “12 new cases of chikungunya confirmed in SVG”

  1. Teacherfang says:

    The Ministry of Health in the grand scheme of things, ought to be the most important and most efficiently run in the country, “The Ministry of Health’s role is basically to lay the policy and the direction of health services in the country and to show the commitment of the Government, and the powers-to-be, that health is of UTMOST IMPORTANCE in nation building”.

    But its time like these that you have to question such assertion, as this Government and specifically the MOH, appear to be lackadaisical in their approach to our healthcare system. The MOH is run like a mauby shop, one just has to observe the daily operations of the nation’s main Hospital to get a sense of how dysfunctional the Ministry is and also show how inept this Gonsalves Administration really is.

    Now, we have an outbreak of this Mosquito related disease but the Vector Control Unit is one of the most neglected departments within the MOH. Only when we have an outbreak of this kind as outlined in the article, you hear the MOH paying lip service to this particular unit. The Vector Control Unit IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT SERVICES WITHIN THE MOH, BUT THEY ARE NOT TREATED LIKE THAT, INSTEAD THEY ARE RELEGATED TO THE BOTTOM OF THE TOTEM POLE IN TERMS OF PRIORITY AND THE REASON FOR THIS IS SIMPLY ONE OF CLASS PERCEPTION. The folks working at the Vector Control are mostly poor folks who trying to make ends meet and may not be the most educated in our society. But they are certainly some of the most dedicated and hard-working individuals. Here, an inspector with the VCU, has to walk in the hot sun for miles, over hills and valleys,through rivers and banana fields; all done with a smile and with little or no fuss.

    These folks have to deal with unruly and disrespectful homeowners on a daily basis. Not to mention the unfortunate encounter with some less than friendly dogs, who want to tear a piece out of your derrière(there are some interesting lol stories to be told in this regard). Workers of the Vector Control Unit deserves our respect and most certainly,respect from the MOH. Their work is as important as any other work within the MOH. Its time the MOH recognised this not by just lip service but by actions….Relocation? Proper gears and equipment? Higher pay? Transportation? Word on the street, there is no transport to do fogging…is this true? Mm.

    On the issue of the Grenadines,a suggestion, not sure if its the case already…but given the water situation in the Grenadines and how its stored there; I think its imperative that we have a Vector Control unit permanently located somewhere in the Grenadines, most likely Bequia. I know over the years, a group of workers go to the Grenadines once or twice within a calendar year. I believe such an arrangement is now and has been an illogical approach in controlling the mosquito population and the prevention of an outbreak of any mosquito related diseases. I know the reason is always about lack of resources but as I alluded previously, I suspect the Vector Control Unit is, in the eyes of the MOH, not high priority and so treat this division with scant regard; that is until, we have an outbreak, then people start looking at the Vector Control Unit for answers.

    I hope going forward, the MOH stop being reactive and empower the VCU and allocate the necessary resources to the division, so that they can do their job properly and efficiently. A job that is very important to the welfare and health-care of the nation.


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