The Ministry of Health and Social Development is continuing its efforts
to ensure that the number of cases of Chickungunya in the Territory remain low.
Since the disease was first reported in the Caribbean last December, the
BVI has recorded 30 cases. Figures released by the Pan American Health
Organization (PAHO) at the end of August revealed more than 650,000
suspected cases of Chikungunya and
close to 8,000 confirmed cases. The
PAHO figures also reveal that the death toll in the Caribbean is now at 37,
with most deaths reported in Martinique.
Since the introduction of
the disease in the Caribbean, the Ministry of Health and Social Development has
increased its surveillance activities in an effort to decrease the mosquito
breeding sites throughout the Territory and prompt clean-up operations were
undertaken on Jost van Dyke where the first cases were reported.
Epidemiologist and Health
Disaster Coordinator, Dr. Ronald Georges said the Ministry has been working in
keeping with the PAHO guidelines which are aimed at strengthening preparedness
and response activities throughout the Territory.
Noting that we are now in
the peak of the hurricane season with intermittent periods of heavy rainfall, Epidemiologist
and Health Disaster Coordinator, Dr. Ronald Georges said, “We are witnessing
the increased accumulation of water in various locations. It is therefore
important that residents, home-owners and business owners support the efforts
of the Ministry by reducing the number of natural and artificial water-filled
habitats that contribute to the breeding of the Aedes Egypti mosquito which is
responsible for the spread of Chikungunya.”
Dr. Georges noted too that,
“although the Environmental Health Unit has been carrying out fogging
activities to help control the mosquito population and the Department of Waste
Management has been supporting the
effort with clean-up operations, there is need for a full mobilisation of all communities. We especially encourage residents to support
ongoing community-based initiatives such as the ‘We love our BVI Challenge’ and
other similar activities.”
With the start of the new academic
year, school administrators are being asked to be particularly vigilant and to
report any areas where stagnant water is accumulating to ensure that school
grounds are kept free of breeding areas.
It is also important that persons who work or play outdoors ensure that
they have adequate protection by wearing clothing which minimises skin exposure
to the vectors and apply repellents to exposed skin or to clothing.
The Department of Disaster
Management will continue to work with the Ministry of Health and Social
Development to provide information to the public through all forms of
media. Flyers and fact sheets are
available on the DDM website at www.bviddm.com and on the DDM Facebook
page. In addition, this information can
be obtained from the Ministry of Health and Social Development or through local
Chikungunya is a viral
disease that is transmitted by infected mosquitoes and onset of illness occurs
usually between three and seven days but can range from two to twelve days. It
causes fever and severe joint pain. Other symptoms include muscle pain,
headache, nausea, fatigue and rash. The disease is transmitted by the same
mosquitoes involved in the dengue transmission. There is no cure for the
disease and treatment is focused on relieving the symptoms.