Barbados investigating seven suspected cases of Chikungunya virus

chikungunya-virus-rashBRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Friday May 30, 2014, CMC – The Ministry of Health is investigating seven suspected cases of the Chikungunya virus.

In a release on Friday, the Health Ministry said  while there are no positive cases of the mosquito borne illness, samples taken from persons with symptoms of the disease were sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) in Trinidad for testing on Thursday and results are expected soon.

According to health officials, routine tests of any patient with symptoms of Chikungunya have been conducted since December 2013, when the disease was first reported in the Caribbean region.

spread-of-chikungunyaOn Friday there were reports of two suspected cases of Chikungunya in persons who had just returned from Dominica where medical officials have been dealing with a major outbreak.

Chikungunya, a virus more commonly found in Africa and Asia and transmitted by the aedes aegypti mosquito that causes the more deadly dengue fever, was first detected in the eastern Caribbean five months ago.

Since then, it has jumped from island to island, sending thousands of patients to the hospital with painful joints, pounding headaches and spiking fevers. Chikungunya is normally not deadly and symptoms begin to dissipate within a week.

CARPHA has described the chikungunya virus and dengue fever as “growing public health threats in the Caribbean”. The Agency says it will convene a special networking symposium focusing on these viruses on June 12.

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