Categorized | Featured, National News

Chikungunya Virus Hits Bahamas

The debilitating Chikungunya virus is now in The Bahamas

A press release issued by the Ministry of Health (MOH) confirmed an imported case of Chikungunya fever.

“The case occurred in an adult visitor, who traveled to The Bahamas from the Dominican Republic on June 29,” the release noted.

“His symptoms reportedly began the day before travel to The Bahamas. He was seen at the Princess Margaret Hospital on June 20 and was subsequently tested. A confirmed positive test was received on July 4. The patient has been treated and presently recovering well,”

Chikungunya was first reported in the Caribbean on December 6, 2013.

According to health officials, to date 22 Caribbean countries have reported confirmed cases.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has reported that the virus has made its way into nearly 40 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas.

Chikungunya is a viral illness transmitted by the bite of an infected Aedes Aegypti or Aedes Albopictus mosquito. The Aedes Aegypti mosquito is commonly found throughout The Bahamas and is known to transmit other diseases such as Dengue.

The virus can affect women and men of all ages. Its symptoms include high fever and severe joint pains in the hands of feet, which can persist for several weeks.

Health officials said other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling and rash.

These symptoms usually appear three to five days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.

Treatment for Chikungunya is symptomatic or supportive and includes rest, using pain relievers such as Panadol, Tylenol or Calpol while drinking lots of fluids. The MOH does not recommend using Aspirin.

To prevent becoming infected with the disease, health officials suggest avoiding mosquito bites as much as possible, which will help to prevent further spread of the virus. To do that the ministry suggests using mosquito repellants on exposed skin, wearing long sleeve light colored clothing, completely screening all doors and windows, sleeping under mosquito nets and burning mosquito coils or coconut bark.

It is also recommended that residents securely cover domestic water containers such as buckets or barrels, and/or cover and seal tanks, garbage bins and cisterns.

If persons suspect that they might have been infected with the virus, the ministry advises those persons to visit the nearest doctor or health care provider.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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