Chikungunya Virus in Dominica

Chikungunya is a viral disease, carried mainly by the Aedes aegypti mosquito and causes a dengue-like sickness. Symptoms 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 with chikungunya than with dengue.

The symptoms appear between four to seven days after the bite of an infected mosquito. The majority of clinical signs and symptoms last three to 10 days, but joint pain may persist longer. Severe cases requiring hospitalisation are rare.

Currently, there is no vaccine or treatment for chikungunya, which has infected millions of people in Africa and Asia since the disease was first recorded in 1952.

Management of the disease in mainly focused on relief of the symptoms.

This morning (Thursday January 16, 2014), the Ministry of Health Risk Management Task Force, convened a meeting to review and refine management strategies and guidelines which will shape the Ministry’s response to the situation.

The Ministry has engaged a coordinated response to the threat of the disease through planned strategies and programmes. These include:

  • Integrated Vector Control Management — Community surveillance, Source reduction ,chemical management, education/public awareness .
  • Strengthening of Port Health Programme, Epidemiological Surveillance and Health Care Services

THERE IS NO NEED FOR ALARM. THERE IS NO OUTBREAK. The type of mosquito that transmits chikungunya is also known to transmit dengue. Therefore Dominica is at risk for spread of the virus. National Epidemiologist, Dr Paul Ricketts, explained that the measures used for controlling the spread of chikungunya are the same as those applied for the control of dengue as both diseases are transmitted by the same mosquito, Aedes aegypti. He said the best way to protect yourself from this disease is to avoid mosquito bites. The public can protect themselves from mosquito bites by wearing long-sleeved clothing or long pants, and using insect repellents liberally, and mosquito nets at night.

The Ministry of Health is therefore urging the public to inspect their homes and yards weekly, and eliminate potential mosquito breeding sites indoors and outdoors by keeping water drums and barrels tightly covered, and throwing out stagnant water from flower vases, old tyres, and other containers that might act as breeding sites.

For more information, please contact:

Anthelia James
Health Promotion Resource Centre
Telephone: (767) 266 3469/3470

Dated: 16/01/2014