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Nov 21, 2014

First Confirmed Case of Chik-V in Belize

After eight months of being in the clear, the first confirmed case of Chikungunya has been recorded in Belize’s public health archives, following a rash of the mosquito-transmitted fever across the Caribbean and Latin America back in April.  CHIK-V, as it is otherwise known, has been suspected in several cases in the Belmopan area since mid-October.  It wasn’t until results of samples sent for testing abroad returned on Wednesday that the Ministry of Health was able to receive confirmation of the presence of the virus.  A thirty-four-year-old woman of Las Flores, whose specimen was sent for testing at the Caribbean Public Health Agency, CARPHA, in Trinidad, is the first diagnosed case of Chikungunya locally.  Incidentally, there have also been several other suspected cases coming from Las Flores, a largely Hispanic immigrant community.  News Five spoke earlier today with Dr. Marvin Manzanero, Interim Head of the Epidemiology Unit.


Via Phone: Dr. Marvin Manzanero, Interim Head, Epidemiology Unit

Marvin Manzanero

“We have been trying to confirm cases that have been suspected clinically.  We actually have sent initial samples to CARPHA during the month of September.  Those samples remain inconclusive for us here.  They was one positive sample in the private sector that CARPHA was unable to confirm so that remained as a suspected case but we were never able to confirm that.  Subsequent to that, we sent three more samples in October, approximately a month ago that had clinical characteristics of chikungunya.  All those three samples were from the Las Flores community, all three samples tested positive on the rapid test for chikungunya and on Wednesday of this week, CARPHA confirmed that one of those samples is positive with a PCI test for chikungunya.”


Isani Cayetano

“What happens next, in terms of either public awareness or in terms of dealing with this particular situation?”


Via Phone: Dr. Marvin Manzanero

“Well, you will recall that from before we had any suspect cases in August we were already doing activities in the Las Flores community.  Once we were alerted of possible cases in September our activities were scaled up and we continued through until October.  Now those activities continue throughout November because, as you would know, these samples were actually collected in the third week of October.  So it’s not that we stopped doing our activities while we waited for the results.  You have to work on the assumption that you have possible cases there.  So those activities have continued with vector control and in terms of educating the community there was even a public health community forum held during the first week of November.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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