With the rainy season underway, the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment is reminding Vincentians that this is the perfect environment for the breeding of mosquitoes which can spread diseases such as chikungunya and dengue.

The ministry said on Thursday that it has confirmed 485 cases of chikungunya in St Vincent and the Grenadines as of June 30, with the majority of these cases being recorded on the Grenadine island of Bequia, where the virus was first confirmed locally.

“Against this background, the Ministry calls on the public to ensure that they do not create breeding spaces for mosquitoes around their homes and workplaces.

“Homeowners should ensure that their surroundings are clear of containers or tyres that can accumulate water and encourage the breeding of mosquitoes,” the ministry said in a release.

Chikungunya is spread through the bite of the aedes aegypti mosquito. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle pain, joint pain and swelling and rash.

The ministry advised that chikungunya does not result in a ban on travel and persons can continue to travel freely but they must continue to remain vigilant and take measures to protect themselves and their families from the disease.

“Persons travelling to areas with high concentrations of chikungunya are advised to take the necessary precautions to avoid mosquito bites. These precautions include the use of insect repellent and wearing appropriate clothing such as long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats, and also the use of a bed net on the area for sleeping.

“Additionally, persons from infected areas who are travelling around the country should remain vigilant for signs and symptoms of the disease.

“Persons with symptoms or those who think that they may have chikungunya should immediately check with their local health care provider,” the ministry said.