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The Ministry of Health announced today that 3 persons tested positive for Chikungunya after preliminary IgM antibody tests confirmed that revelation. As we’ve been reporting, Chikungunya is an illness caused by a virus that spreads through mosquito bites. Today, the Central Medical Laboratory confirmed three positive IgM antibody tests for Chikungunya from samples collected early last week as a consequence of an investigation of a suspected case of Chikungunya from the Las Flores community. Here is what with Director of Health Services, Doctor Michael Pitts from the Ministry of Health, had to say about the situation.


Screen_Shot_2014-10-31_at_6.31.26_PMDr. Michael Pitts, Director of Health Services

 

"Out of the 11 we had 3 reactive by the screen and now we are sending it for confirmation. I will tell you it is heading in the direction that we think it would go because the population, we are finding these preliminary tests positive from Las Flores where we have a lot of people traveling to Salvador and as you know Salvador have a lot of cases. We have increased our level of activities in terms of house to house inspection and spraying in the area."


Jules Vasquez- Reporter


"Where will this go from here? Do you foresee it exploding into the sort of public health emergency that we saw in Jamaica for example or do you see us being able to somehow contain the number of infections if it is indeed Chikungunya?"


Dr. Michael Pitts, Director of Health Services


"I can't speculate. It's just to say that Chikungunya can have a high attack rate. This is what I've been saying from November last year and this is why we need everybody on board to manage the situation."


The Ministry’s Public relations officer told us that the Epidemiology unit is currently monitoring the three persons and continue to actively work to alleviate instances of the disease. And as a side note, The Ministry advises all residents and communities that the virus is spread to humans by the bite of an infected female Aedes species mosquito – Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus. These are the same tropical and sub-tropical mosquitoes that carry the dengue virus. They breed in or near human habitations and prefer to feed on humans during the daytime in shady areas, but may also bite early in the night. The most common symptoms of chikungunya are fever and joint pain. Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash.

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