By Caribbean News Now contributor
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados -- Although no cases of chikungunya have been detected in Barbados to date, three new cases have been identified and confirmed in one of the Eastern Caribbean Islands.
To this end, the Barbados Ministry of Health is continuing to monitor an outbreak of the disease in the Eastern Caribbean islands, the French overseas territories, Dutch St Maarten, and the British Virgin Islands.
According to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), between December 6, 2013 and April 11, this year, local transmission of the chikungunya virus had been documented in ten territories.
People travelling to countries where chikungunya has been reported are advised to protect themselves by wearing long sleeved shirts and pants when outdoors, using mosquito repellents and by sleeping under an insecticide treated bed-net to prevent themselves from being bitten. If they experience symptoms upon returning home they should seek prompt medical attention.
Chikungunya, a virus similar to dengue, is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito as well as the Aedes albopictus mosquito. The symptoms are similar to dengue fever and may include a sudden high fever, headache, rash, nausea and muscle pain.
However, stiffness and severe joint pain, 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 infected patients have reported debilitating arthritic pain persisting for weeks or months.
Meanwhile, Dr Lucia John, a transcendental meditation representative in Dominica, said in a recent interview with CBN4 news that she has discovered some simple homemade remedies to ease chikungunya symptoms.
Teas, she said, are one of the most convenient ways to combat the virus symptoms. Ginger tea, combined with black pepper and lime, grapefruit or vinegar can be sweetened and drunk hot to relieve the virus symptoms. The local representative said that bay leaf and garlic teas may be used in the same way. However, John warned that ginger may not be suitable for everyone as it is a natural blood thinner, and that individuals should exercise caution in their search for relief.
According to John, the tea dosages would depend on the individual and the severity of their pains.
John also recommended that victims drink a lot of water, not only to help with fever but for the rash as well.