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Jun 26, 2014

Belize clear of CHIKV, but remains on full alert

Michael Pitts

Since chikungunya fever became an emerging threat within Latin America and the Caribbean in April, the spread of the mosquito-transmitted infection has been closely monitored regionally.  The number of CHIKV cases has surpassed a hundred and ninety thousand between the two territories, with the Dominican Republic reporting the most instances over the past several weeks.  Though there are no reported cases in Belize so far, a close eye is being kept on neighboring countries, including El Salvador, where over a thousand chikungunya cases have been diagnosed.  While the best means of prevention is overall mosquito control, there is limited mobility due to lack of transportation for the vector control staff.  The absence of vehicles reduces surveillance activities and timely control efforts, including the control of mosquitoes in all its biological stages.  This morning, a press conference was held at the Central Health Region to update the public on Belize’s status to date.

 

Dr. Michael Pitts, Director of Health Services

“Over last week and early this week, El Salvador, a member country of SICA has reported twelve hundred cases.  And why I say member country of SICA because Belize takes over presidency of SICA and, of course, I know that chikungunya is an important agenda item on the deliberation in the SICA meetings, the COMISCA meetings.  But even more at home for Belize we have significant relationship with SICA, with Salvador where a number of our citizens, our new citizens are in fact from Salvador and there’s this exchange and movement back and forth with Salvador.  Also Salvador would be of interest because when we do we have major outbreaks of dengue and associated diseases that is in fact transmitted by similar mosquitoes, Salvador had a high number of cases.  Now back then to our own home country, we have no reported case of chikungunya up to this time.  I need to say though that in anticipation we have been doing certain things and we have been making some progress. We can’t eradicate mosquitoes but we can control the population to tolerable levels.  So, we have in fact linked the measures for dengue with chikungunya.  Over the last few months we have, in fact, focused on improving the logistics, meaning the vehicles that we have for dengue support or chikungunya support.  We reported at that time that we would be purchasing some vehicles, of course we have to purchase through agencies.  I can report that those vehicles are now in country and will be released by the agencies to us sometime over next week.”

 

Francis Murray

Dr. Francis Murray, Focal Point for Communicable Disease, MOH

“Chikungunya, as a re-emerging disease, presents itself with high fever of more than thirty-eight degrees, severe arthritis or what is referred to also as bending illness.  This arthritis is characteristic that it affects mostly the small joints, those of the wrists, the hands but it also may affect the larger joints and has a characteristic that is said to be migratory.  The rash that it presents is much more severe than that of dengue.”

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2 Responses for “Belize clear of CHIKV, but remains on full alert”

  1. oscar says:

    If there are cases in both borders of belize, and this people are “alert” .
    Why have i not seen the spraying pickup truck around corozal.
    This udp goverment really is stealing the nation from top to bottom. From health, lands , international funds . this udp need belize to really show them people power

  2. As I see it says:

    I want to publicly commend Dr. Pitts for the previous information he gave about this disease, indeed he is a man on the move by altering us what is expected etc. He did so recently and once again, may we take heed, and do not be overly critical but do what we can in our little corner to protect our love ones. Sure enough when he did so couple months ago, it was on Caribbean News Line at an opportune time. I respect him a whole lot and he is a man of humble beginnings and does not hunk his horn.

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