The number of reported cases of the mosquito-borne illness chikungunya in St. Vincent and the Grenadines has decreased, the Ministry of Health said on Thursday.
Luis de Shong, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health, said there has been a “significant decrease” in the number of cases on the northern Grenadine island of Bequia, one of the hardest hit areas.
de Shong said the fall in the number of cases is as a consequence of a range of factors, such as continuous health promotion exercises and an intensive vector control program, including inspection of properties, source reduction and increased fogging activities.
Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted to humans by infected aedes aegypti mosquitoes. It causes fever and severe joint pain. Other symptoms include muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash.
The virus was first reported in SVG in April of this year and since then there have been close to 2,000 cases reported nationwide.
de Shong said the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment will continue to intensify health promotion and vector control activities in order to eliminate this disease from SVG.
The ministry is urging all residents of SVG to play an active part in this elimination exercise.
“Persons are encouraged to keep water drums and tanks covered, to rid their premises of unused tires, keep the general surroundings clean, use appropriate clothing to avoid mosquito bites, and also insect repellents and bed nets where necessary.
“The Ministry, therefore, advises everyone to avoid letting their guard down, as favourable conditions which harbour mosquitoes can lead to an increased propagation of mosquitoes and a possible upsurge in the disease,” de Shong said.