Two cases of the mosquito-borne chikungunya virus have been confirmed on mainland St. Vincent, as the total number of confirmed cases in the country has climbed to 39.
The Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment said on Wednesday that there are 37 confirmed cases of the virus on the northern Grenadine island of Bequia, where an outbreak began in late April.
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.
Luis de Shong, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment said on Wednesday that his ministry continues to implement vector control activities against the aedes aegypti mosquito, which causes the chikungunya virus.
He said private sector and other key stakeholders such as the National Emergency management Organisation, the Roads, Bridges and General Services Authority, the Ministry of Tourism and the Central Waster and Sewerage Authority are all engaged in the multi-sectorial approach towards fighting this disease.
“The Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment will continue active surveillance and island-wide intense vector control campaign. Additionally, several public outreach programmes have been held and more are scheduled throughout St. Vincent and the Grenadines to sensitise Vincentians about the virus and the Ministry urges the participation of all individuals in fighting the aedes aegypti mosquito and the chikungunya virus,” de Shong said.
Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes. It causes fever and severe joint pain. Other symptoms include muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash. Persons experiencing such signs and symptoms should contact their health care provider.
The ministry said it was reiterating the importance of avoiding mosquito bites by implementing vector control measures at the individual and community levels, such as keeping water drums and tanks covered, getting rid of unused tires, keeping the general surroundings clean, the use of appropriate clothing to avoid mosquito bites and the use of insect repellents.