ROSEAU, Dominica -- The ministry of health in Dominica on Thursday confirmed the first case of chikungunya disease on the island.
Chikungunya is a viral disease, carried mainly by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, and causes a dengue-like sickness.
Symptoms of the disease include a sudden high fever, severe pain in the wrists, ankles or knuckles, muscle pain, headache, nausea, and rash.
Joint pain and stiffness are more common symptoms associated with chikungunya disease which are not associated with dengue.
Dominica’s chief medical officer, Dr David Johnson, during a press conference, reported that the ministry is aware of one official case of the chikungunya disease on the island.
“We can confirm now that we have the first locally occurring case of chikungunya in Dominica. It’s a female individual who had a travel history of travelling to St Martin,” he said.
According to Johnson, the first case presented the signs and symptoms of the disease in mid-December and, after conducting tests, they received confirmation from the Caribbean Public health agency (CARPHA) on Wednesday night.
Johnson emphasized that there is “no cause for alarm or scare” at this time in Dominica, as the ministry of health is taking proactive measures to establish whether there are other cases of chikungunya in the island.
“There is no need for alarm at this time, the person who presented with chikungunya disease has recovered and is at home doing well,” he said.
He added that Dominica is still a safe place to travel, vacation, or conduct business.
Meanwhile chief environmental health officer, Anthony Scotland, said measures have been put in place in the community to contain the spread of the disease.
“A team from the National Pest & Termite Company and the Environmental Health Department has been conducting some larvae surveys in that community. They are going to be inspecting all the houses in that community for mosquito breeding and treating it. Also we will be fogging this evening to knock down adults because what we want to do is to disrupt any transmission of that disease in that area,” Scotland said.
He added that the ministry of health will conduct fogging operations in the high risk area and in other communities known to have a high density of mosquito breeding.
He said the department will also undertake intense surveillance at the island’s ports of entry.
Meanwhile, national epidemiologist, Dr Paul Ricketts, has assured nationals that most cases of chikungunya will be mild and patients will recover without any major problem.
He noted, “Fatality associated with chikungunya is very rare; however, because it is so similar to dengue, it is important that we distinguish whether the patient who is presenting very similar symptoms has dengue or chikungunya.”
Ricketts advised residents to take the necessary precautions against acquiring this infection.
“Precautions including avoiding mosquitoes biting you, so wearing long sleeves and long pants, using mosquito repellants and so on,” he advised.
The Caribbean Public health agency, (CARPHA) last month confirmed ten cases of the chinkungunya virus on the French department of Saint Martin.
There have also been confirmed cases in the French Guiana, the British Virgin Islands, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and St Bart’s.
Republished with permission of CBN4News