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Oct 7, 2014

ChikV Reported in Region, But Not in Belize

Michael Pitts

An outbreak of chikungunya fever across Latin America and the Caribbean was similarly reported in late-June.  While the spread of the vector-borne infection has been closely monitored in Belize, there are no cases to report on tonight.  Despite the good news, as in the case of Ebola, the Public Health Department is still actively keeping an eye out for CHIKV.  Today, during a press conference at the Central Health Region, Director of Health Services Dr. Michael Pitts informed the media that since July there have been a number of cases reported in neighboring Central American countries, including Guatemala and El Salvador, as well as the Caribbean islands of Jamaica and Grenada.  Nevertheless, Pitts says that the department is doing its best with vector control.

 

Dr. Michael Pitts, Director of Health Services

“Most of what we do with dengue will have dividends for what happens with chikungunya.  While we don’t know of any case of chikungunya in Belize, I must tell you that since we spoke the last time chikungunya has moved through the whole Caribbean chain.  It certainly has entered into Miami or the Florida area.  We have seen chikungunya now in [El] Salvador, in Guatemala.  In fact, over this last week at least five provinces of Guatemala have reported chikungunya.  [El] Salvador has as also reported.  We haven’t seen any reports out of Honduras.  For Belize we have no known cases but we are actively looking for cases.  If you recall now, chikungunya mimics dengue but the cardinal difference with chikungunya is the fact that people show up with a lot of pains in the small joints of the limb.  The hands and the feet and at times the back but allow people to either in a cramped position or a crouched over position in the classic bending position as the name implies.  Also significant is the fact that there is a presence of rashes with chikungunya that is not usually present with dengue.  Other than that chikungunya and dengue may look alike.  Now with chikungunya I must reiterate again that there’s the possibility of high attack rates.  In places like Grenada, there are some of the associated islands of Grenada where there has been as high as sixty-four percent of the population affected with chikungunya.”

 

Chikungunya fever is spread by the aedes aegypti and aedes albopictus mosquitoes.

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