By Caribbean News Now contributor
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados -- The ministry of health in Barbados has reported the first case of chikungunya in a resident with no known travel history. Another six cases confirmed so far have all been imported into the island.
In the Cayman Islands, out of seven cases tested four have come back positive and three negative. Of the four confirmed cases, three have reported a travel history to countries reporting an outbreak, while one had no travel history, suggesting chikungunya was acquired locally.
Meanwhile, in The Bahamas, chief medical officer Dr Delon Brennen said on Tuesday that there are two new confirmed cases of chikungunya fever in country, bringing the total number of cases to six so far.
He said a team from the ministry of health is currently investigating as many as 60 suspected cases.
Brennen warned that the number of cases of chikungunya fever will increase and suggested the transmission rate could be worse than a dengue outbreak in 2011.
Since the first confirmed case in the Caribbean last December, the chikungunya virus, transmitted by the aedes aegypti mosquito and the aedes albopictus mosquito, has been confirmed in 29 countries/territories in the region. The total number of confirmed cases has reached 5,749.
Some symptoms are similar to dengue fever and these include sudden high fever, headache, rash, nausea and muscle pain. However, the stiffness and severe joint pain experienced, especially in the wrists, knuckles or ankles, is more often associated with chikungunya. Fever may last from a few days to a few weeks, and some patients have reported debilitating arthritic pain, which has persisted for weeks or months.
There is no vaccine for chikungunya and treatment is symptomatic. It may include rest, fluids and medication for pain and fever. However, aspirin should be avoided.