ROAD TOWN, BVI -- The ministry of health in the British Virgin Islands has confirmed three cases of chickungunya disease, following reports of confirmed cases in St Martin and increased surveillance throughout the BVI.
Medical Officer of Health Dr Ronald Georges said, “We have confirmed three cases on Jost Van Dyke.”
Chickungunya is a viral disease transmitted to humans by the bite of infected mosquitoes.
“It is important to note that these confirmed cases were not exposed to travel, which alerts us that the virus is already in our mosquito population,” Georges stated.
According to Georges, the ministry has been coordinating a response to minimise the impact of chickungunya. He reminded the public to take appropriate measures to minimise exposure to mosquitoes.
As such, the health division has stepped up its fogging programme and will be addressing “hotspot” areas known for mosquito breeding.
Georges explained that chickungunya causes symptoms similar to dengue fever, which last two to five days. Symptoms include rash, arthritis-like pain affecting multiple joints, headaches, conjunctival infection, back pain, nausea, vomiting, polyarteritis, and a fever of 102 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
“Anyone experiencing one or more of these symptoms should contact their healthcare provider immediately,” he said, adding, “Persons are urged to be vigilant in inspecting their premises for mosquito breeding sites.”
He said that measures should also be taken to keep mosquitoes out of homes for example: removing catchment of still water, cover containers storing water, and more importantly necessary precautions should be taken to protect babies by placing a protective net over cribs. In addition the use of insect repellent on adults and children is also useful.
Clinicians and healthcare providers are asked to continue to report syndromic data, especially fever surveillance within 24 hours for continuous monitoring.
The Environmental Health Division will continue surveillance and control measures at ports of entry. However, residents are asked to remain vigilant in preventing mosquitoes from breeding around their homes and businesses.