St Lucia confirms first case of Chikungunya virus

Castries, St Lucia — Saint Lucia has confirmed its first case of Chikungunya, a mosquito borne disease transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the same vector of dengue fever. Persons infected with the virus present symptoms after three to seven days following exposure. These symptoms include fever, headache, nausea and vomiting. A distinguishing symptom of the virus is severe pain to the joints of the hands and feet which can be debilitating.

This virus has been on the increase in the French Caribbean from 2013. Given the trends of the inter-island travel between Saint Lucia and these territories, active surveillance of the disease by the ministry of health in Saint Lucia commenced from early 2014 and preventative efforts focused on intensifying source reduction and treating of breeding sites.

The public is asked to partner with the ministry of health in controlling the potential increase of this disease by eliminating viable sites for the breeding of mosquitoes. Water should be stored in tightly sealed containers; discarded or unused containers around the home which could potentially contain water (tins, pails, buckets, old appliances) should be properly stored or disposed of.

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