GEORGETOWN, Guyana (GINA) -- Health Minister Dr Bheri Ramsaran on Tuesday disclosed that there are 12 more confirmed cases of the mosquito-borne disease, chikungunya in Guyana.
Ramsaran said that some results from samples sent recently for testing at the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) in Trinidad and Tobago were received on Tuesday, and that epidemiologist Dr Morris Edwards is analysing the data.
Prior to the new cases, there were 19 confirmed cases, all from the Canje, Berbice area, Region Six.
Chikungunya is an arthropod-borne virus that is transmitted to humans by the Aedes egypti mosquito.
While Guyana has the facility in the form of the National Public Health Reference Laboratory that is equipped, it doesn’t have staff trained to conduct tests for chikungunya, hence the samples have to be sent to Trinidad and Tobago for testing.
The minister also revealed that the health ministry has secured training for a National Public Health Laboratory biomedical technologist in Atlanta, USA. That person will, among other things, be trained in laboratory diagnostics for chikungunya.
Ramsaran had approached the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) a few weeks ago, seeking to access training for lab staff.
Guyana recorded its first cases in late May, a toddler and a woman in her forties, both from the Canje area. Immediately, the ministry’s vector control services conducted extensive fogging of the area.
Ramsaran said public health measures are still ongoing to rid communities of mosquitoes, including indoor fogging.
Chikungunya can result in some long-term effects primarily joint pains. It usually causes moderate to severe illness. Depending on an individual’s body reaction after the incubation period, persons may experience pain even after seeking medical attention. This period can last from two to six days with symptoms lasting four to seven days after infection.
Individuals experiencing any such symptoms should visit a health facility as soon as possible.
Residents are also asked to remove all containers that may retain water and breed mosquitoes and to keep their surroundings clean.
The disease arrived in the Caribbean in December last year. Countries and territories in the region where chikungunya cases have been reported are: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Dominica, Dominica Republic, French Guyana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, Martinique, Puerto Rico, St Barthelemy, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Maarten, St Martin, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Turks and Caicos Islands, US Virgin Islands and Venezuela.