Health officials are working to contain the chikungunya virus as “small increases” in the mosquito borne disease have now been reported in the Southern Grenadines.
The disease was fist confirmed locally on the northern Grenadine island of Bequia, and since then, there have been confirmed cases on mainland St. Vincent and now Canouan, in the southern Grenadines.
MP for the Southern Grenadines, Terrance Ollivierre, in calls to his party’s radio programme in July, spoke about a number of residents of Canouan exhibiting symptoms of the disease.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Lois de Shong, told the I-Witness News on Wednesday that the cases continue to be concentrated on Bequia, but his ministry has received reports of person on Canouan contracting the disease.
“The district Medical Officer in Canouan has been in contact with the Medical Officer of Health and the head of the National Surveillance Community. So we have activated our activities in the Southern Grenadines, in much the same way we did in the Northern Grenadines sometime back,” de Shong said.
“We have to move with dispatch, because we find that it’s important and necessary for us to address the issues related to chikungunya. You note that there was a heavy concentration on the island of Bequia, but now we have we’ve had to spread our health promotion and our environmental activities to the Southern Grenadines, and we are taking care of the issue,” he further told I-Witness News.
“It still remains that most of the cases are concentrated in the Northern Grenadines, but we are now seeing small increases in the Southern Grenadines. On the mainland, it remains almost stable, in that we have not had any significant increase in the numbers,” de Shong said.
He noted that there is much travel between St. Vincent and the Grenadines islands.
“We have to appreciate that persons in the mainland work in the Grenadines. There is some travel, and persons visit different island in the Grenadines. So there is also travel on that side of the fence, but we are making every effort to address that matter, we are containing the situation,” de Shong said.
The number of confirmed and suspected cases of chikungunya locally has gone past 500.
“… but we have activated and increased our own activities, health promotion, which is critical, and we are providing the necessary intervention with respect to medication and other support which the patient would require,” de Shong said.
He said his ministry is also conducting fogging operations to control the mosquito population.
“The thing is, we have to fog in the areas which are deemed high-risk, as it were. Those are the areas that my team, my staff, they are concentrating on,” de Shong said.