Jamaica investigates first possible case of chikungunya virus


KINGSTON, Jamaica, Wednesday July 16, 2014, CMC – The Ministry of Health is investigating a suspected case of the Chikungunya virus in an individual who travelled from an affected country and fell ill.

In a release late Tuesday, Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Kevin Harvey said the individual had screening tests done at a private laboratory which indicated the illness, following which a sample was taken and sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) in Trinidad for confirmation.

Should this be positive it will confirm Jamaica’s first imported case of the chikungunya virus.

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“This does not indicate local spread of the virus and we continue to monitor persons living in and around areas visited by the individual. We have heightened our vector control activities to reduce the possibility of local spread,” Harvey explained.

He said Ministry of Health has been putting measures in place for more than two years in anticipation of chikungunya virus.

There is no specific treatment for the chikungunya virus nor is there a vaccine.

“The Aedes aegypti is a day biting mosquito that will almost always be found in and around areas where people live, work and play. The mosquito breeds in water that settles around homes, schools, churches, workplaces and playgrounds,” he said.

To date, twenty-eight countries in the Caribbean and Latin American Region have reported cases of Chikungunya with a total of 5,227 confirmed.