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St Lucia reports increase in chikungunya cases
Published on May 17, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

CASTRIES, St Lucia (GIS) -- This week, health officials in Saint Lucia confirmed a total of 12 cases of chikungunya virus infection.

Nahum Jn Baptiste, the island's national epidemiologist in the ministry of health, said there has been a wider spread of the virus in Saint Lucia.

In terms of demographics, Jn Baptiste said females seem to be more affected by the virus: "We are seeing more women, although the numbers are still small and we are expecting some more confirmed cases, we are seeing more women above the age of 25 affected compared to males and persons in the other age groups."

According the epidemiologist, there have so far been only two cases of children under the age of 15 infected.

The first confirmed case of chikungunya on the island was recorded towards the end of February 2014. More cases emerged towards the end of April.

The ministry of health official said the agency is moving as quickly as possible to implement its control measures, which include heightening environmental management.

Jn Baptiste said where suspect cases occur, the public is encouraged to reduce the breeding sites of the Aedes aegypti mosquito: "The most important and effective control measure is to reduce the habitat of the Aedes aegypti mosquito. With the rainy season approaching, make sure that you cover your water storage drums, look under your flower vases where you have plates, look for the larvae and get rid of them."

Jn Baptiste said it is important to stop transmission of the virus from mosquitoes to humans, and residents are being asked to try to avoid being bitten by the mosquito through the use of repellants or mosquito nets.
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