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Jamaica prepares for chikungunya

Monday, May 5, 2014

Emergency, Disaster Management and Special Services is urging Jamaicans to take precaution against the spread of mosquito borne diseases as the Chikungunya virus (CHIK-V) continues to spread across the Caribbean.
While the disease has not yet been seen in Jamaica, the Ministry of Health continues to put measures in place as part of our preparedness plan. The virus is spread by the Aedesaegypti mosquito which also spreads dengue so an advantage is said to be had in terms of being able to use a similar approach.
The Ministry of Health has been putting measures in place for more than two years in anticipation of the possibility of CHIK-V reaching the shores and training and sensitisation of staff has begun to take place as well as the continued strengthening of their surveillance system allowing quick detection of cases.
Symptoms of Chikungunya include high fever, headache, muscle pain, joint pain and a rash. Although it does not often result in death, joint pains and stiffness can last for months and even years. It may become a source of chronic pain and disability resulting in the individual being unable to attend work or school. Infants and the elderly are at greater risk for more severe symptoms of the disease and there is no specific treatment for CHIK-V nor is there a vaccine.
The Aedesaegypti is a day biting mosquito that will almost always be found in and around areas where people live, work and play. The parasite breeds in water that settles around homes, schools, churches, workplaces and playgrounds. Persons are urged to search for and destroy mosquito breeding sites in and around their homes, workplaces and communities by getting rid of old tyres and containers in which water can settle, punching holes in tins before disposing, and covering large drums, barrels and tanks holding water.

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