Chikungunya_Disease_1Yesterday we told you about the press conference that the Ministry of Health will be holding tomorrow regarding the emerging threat of the Chikungunya disease that is quickly spreading throughout the Caribbean.

Reports show that the virus has recently spread to 17 countries in the Caribbean, including Haiti and Cuba, where the number of chikungunya cases now tops 189,000, according to the Pan American Health Organization. And as of last week, 80 cases of chikungunya have been reported in 13 U.S. States.

The good news is that there has been no reported case in the country of Belize.

And authorities in the Ministry of Health intend to keep it that way by reinforcing the awareness of the Dengue virus. This is because the same species of mosquito that carries the Dengue virus is carrier of the Chikungunya Disease.


Hilmar Manzanilla- Sup. Northern Region Vector Control

“The Chikungunya first of all is caused  as a virus right, and it is transmitted by the same mosquito, the same vector, that transmits dengue, we have a program set out already many years ago which started to be implemented with measures to control the vector that transmits dengue, so nothing changed in terms of the habitat, in terms of the control measures, in terms of the vector when it comes to the dengue which is the same one for Chikungunya so since we have set up a program for dengue the same measures we are using for dengue it is the same one we are using for Chikungunya getting prepared right now we are reinforcing and the dengue Chikungunya disease right, so what we are doing now is doing more ULV spray, the truck that carries the machine spraying in the town and villages, we also doing thermal foggy because the mosquito lives around human habitation so when it hatches with the yard it enters the home so what we do is spray inside the houses to kill all adult mosquitos that lives under the bed in the closets in the kitchen etc. etc. We are doing more health education in school and on the radio.”

Cleaning campaigns have been carried out in the village of Chan Chen and more are to follow including the Village of Libertad. Hilmer Manzanilla, Supervisor of the Northern Region Vector Control Unit described to us the symptoms patients goes through when infected by the virus.

Hilmar Manzanilla- Sup. Northern Region Vector Control

“Chikungunya has very high fever, sometimes thirty eight and a half degrees Celsius, headache, body ache but most importantly of all it develops swelling in your joints, swelling s in your feet, in your elbow, in your wrist, that is Chikungunya, as a matter of fact, Chikungunya comes from an African dialect that means to bend over so whenever you have Chikungunya and you have like arthritis it causes pain and burning and swelling in your joint so the person tends to bend over to try  to withhold the pain or whatever he is suffering right, and so he walks in a bend over position right so that is what Chikungunya means.”

In order to keep Belize free of the Chikungunya disease, the Ministry of Health advices residents to maintain their lots clean at all times.

Hilmar Manzanilla- Sup. Northern Region Vector Control

“What the person needs to do is to keep their yard clean  vegetation and free from any water holding containers, artificial containers, such as drums, tanks, stoves, old tires you name it, plastic bags, old empty cans and bottles anything that can hold water, if you don’t want it in your yard it is rubbish so why keep  rubbish in your yard, if you need your tires put your tires in a safe place that it won’t catch any water, if you keep your drum to hold any rain water for your cooking or whatever cover it properly, if you have your Mennonite tanks, you have an inlet and an outlet you cover both entrances so that you avoid any mosquito from entering the containers right, if you have money and you can afford you need to screen your windows, your doors so as to prevent any mosquitos from entering into your homes, whenever the machines goes around spraying it is very important to open your doors and windows so as to permit the spray to enter your house so as to kill all those mosquitos.”

Persons believed to be infected with the virus are asked to visit the nearest health center.

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