Share This On:
There are no new confirmed cases of chikungunya on island, however health officials suspect there may be at least 10 more.
The Ministry of Health announced the first and only confirmed case of the disease earlier this month.
Chief Epidemiologist Nahum Jn Baptiste told Saint Lucia News Online (SNO) in an interview that as of today, April 23, 10 suspected cases have surfaced – one as recent as yesterday – involving a foreigner, but none have been confirmed.
A 63-year-old fisherman, who was the first individual confirmed to have contracted the virus, has been treated and is fully recovered. He is now back on the job, Jn Baptiste said.
“So far we have done the investigations. We have not yet confirmed any other case that has been transmitted from that imported case. We also have another suspected case of a foreigner – someone who started to present signs and symptoms yesterday,” he said.
Jn Baptiste said the ministry continues to strengthen its surveillance system and will continue to send samples to the Caribbean Public Health Agency for testing every week.
Following the announcement of the first confirmed case of chikungunya a few weeks ago, the Ministry of Health said it had intensified mosquito-control efforts to lessen the impact of a chikungunya outbreak on the island.
Officials say the impact of the disease all depends on whether the suitable conditions exist for Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes to breed, since it transmits the disease.
People suffering with the illness will mainly feel chronic pain in the joints, and although it will not require being admitted to a hospital, there will be prolonged pain or swelling in the joints.
“As long as we have an infected person and the Aedes Aegypti Mosquito is around and they can bite this infected person where they get infected themselves and then bite someone else, there is possibility for transmission. We of course are zooming in on our index case and looking at his surroundings and the persons in his household and where he frequents to ensure we have some focus intervention there as well,” Chief Medical Officer Dr. Merlene Fredericks had said.