Going Viral

Paraguay confirms domestic case of chikungunya

Paraguay on Tuesday confirmed the first domestically-acquired case of chikungunya, a woman who became infected after contact with a couple who contracted it in Puerto Rico, bringing to four the number of people in the country with the virus, Dr. Andrea Ojeda, the spokesperson for the Health Monitoring agency, told Efe.

Ojeda said that the Asuncion resident is in the subacute phase of the disease, experiencing joint pain but not infectious.

The doctor added that the woman works as a housekeeper for two people who had picked up the virus during a trip to Puerto Rico, a pair of cases that were detected in late October at a private health clinic in the Paraguayan capital.

Including the couple, there are now three imported cases of chikungunya in Paraguay, after a person coming from the Dominican Republic was found to be infected in September.

At the end of last month, the Public Health Ministry urged the public to avoid travel to countries reporting cases of chikungunya, including Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela and the nations of Central America and the Caribbean, as a way of preventing the virus from making its way to Paraguay.

The landlocked South American nation is currently in the season where there is a high risk of dengue outbreaks, as well as the potential for importing chikungunya, both of which are transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the ministry said. EFE

Ferguson admits chikungunya spreading to western Jamaica

KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister of Health, Dr Fenton Ferguson, said Tuesday that Jamaica has not yet peaked in terms of the expected spread of the chikungunya epidemic.

Dr Ferguson told the House of Representatives that the parishes which had suffered the epidemic earliest have already peaked including St Thomas, are now seeing a downward trend.

“But, as you go further west you are going to be seeing more persons affected,” Ferguson said.

However, he explained that it was not the movement of mosquitoes which was causing the spread, but the movement of people.

“A person who is infected in St Thomas, leaves and goes to Montego Bay, is bitten by the aedes aegypti mosquito in Montego Bay and, after eight days, can infect someone there. So we will continue to get the spread, but we have to continue to manage the source reduction while we kill the adult mosquitoes,” he said.

He added that, in terms of the aerial spraying, there was still concern about it, as it relates to people with respiratory illnesses and bee keepers who have suffered losses. He said that discussions were still taking place.

“In fact, I have been approached by private sector persons who want to give support. (But) I am still awaiting the best advice, before making such decision. So it is not a closed thing,” he stated.

Ferguson admitted that his ministry has been pursuing the use of using genetically modified mosquitoes to get rid of the virus carrying vectors. He said that it is something the ministry has been pursuing with Jamaica’s high commission in London and is looking at that possibility.

He said that his Ministry was also moving to strengthen its public relations department, as well as cooperating with the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) and the medical doctors associations to assist with public education.

Balford Henry

Region 10 council concerned over chikungunya, absence of response

By Jeff Trotman

 

The Region Ten Democratic Council is calling on the government to implement a more coherent and structured response that includes proper testing and treatment of persons suspected of contracting the mosquito-borne chikungunya virus.

APNU Councillor Maurice Butters, during the statutory meeting of the RDC last Thursday, expressed concern about the lack of information in the Region on the virus. Butters, Chairman of the Region Ten Health and Environment Committee, told his fellow councillors that the Management Board of the Linden Hospital Complex had not met since June and he wanted to know the status of the chikungunya virus in Region Ten.

Regional Chairman, Sharma Solomon said it is a serious matter and it is frightening that there is no response to the disease in the Region and the people of the Region are not aware of any mechanism that is in place to deal with the disease. “We’re all waiting to get sick and I pray to God many persons don’t because it is not something nice,” Solomon said. “I had it, or I still do. My knees are still creaking right now …. I still get headaches.”

Butters said that according to the experts, even when one gets better, the virus stays in one’s body for years. The Regional Chairman then asked the Clerk of Council, Yolanda Hilliman, for an update on the response to the chikungunya disease. “Don’t leh we polish nutten,” he added. “If we don’t have the resources or a response let us know and the people in the Region

Chikungunya cases continue to climb

After chikungunya cases more than doubled last week, health officials advised Wednesday that the number of confirmed cases in Cayman has now risen to 20.

According to the latest release from Cayman’s public health department, four cases of the mosquito-borne virus were transmitted locally and 16 were contracted overseas.

The four locally acquired cases occurred in Newlands in Bodden Town, Eastern Avenue in George Town, Prospect Drive in George Town, and the Boatswain Bay area of West Bay.

Of the test results sent to Caribbean Public Health Agency last week, two people tested positive for the debilitating virus. The patients had a travel history to Jamaica, and were residents of Bodden Town. The onset of their symptoms took place between Sept. 25 and 27. So far, imported cases include: two from the Dominican Republic, three from Guyana, 10 from Jamaica and one to St. Lucia, public health officials said.

The spike in chikungunya cases has prompted the Mosquito Research Control Unit to conduct more fogging treatments to combat the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which spreads the virus, according to MRCU Director William Petrie.

“We immediately launched into an all-out attack against Aedes aegypti mosquitoes,” said Mr. Petrie.

In an effort to contain the virus, the MRCU started carrying out additional mosquito fogging treatments last week. This includes eight treatments per day in George Town, from 7.30 a.m. to 9 a.m., and then from 5.15 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Mr. Petrie said four of the unit’s fogging trucks, traditionally used to deal with swamp mosquitoes, were converted to target Aedes aegypti for this new effort. “We are fogging in George Town with those trucks, it is very very intense,” he said.

“This mosquito is different from all others, and it is active during the day, not at night, so that’s why we’ve altered the spraying time,” he added.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito is most commonly found around households, and breeds in standing water, often left in old tires, containers and plant holders that can be found near homes.

To target other areas of the island, ranging from West Bay to Pease Bay, MRCU staff are also carrying out daily low-flying aerial operations where pellets of insecticide are dropped on land to kill mosquito larvae.

Mr. Petrie said the MRCU planned to keep “this intensified program of operations going indefinitely while we monitor the outbreak in Jamaica.”

According to the Caribbean Public Health Agency’s latest update, 35 cases of chikungunya have been confirmed in Jamaica.

Twenty new potential chikungunya cases in Cayman were also placed under investigation during the week of Sept. 30 to Oct. 6.

Since June 25, when the virus was first reported, health officials have investigated 76 cases of chikungunya in the Cayman Islands.

“I am pleading with the public to practice protective measures against mosquito bites,” Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kiran Kumar said. “These include using mosquito repellent with DEET on the skin, and wearing long sleeve pants and shirts when outside during times that mosquitoes bite, whether in the Cayman Islands or on travels.”

Health officials are also planning to distribute chikungunya leaflets to any travelers to Jamaica, according to Dr. Kumar.

Rh negative people more resistant to chikungunya

Rh positive blood groups are more susceptible to chikungunya fever over Rh negative individuals are resistant to it, a new study suggests. Also, people with ‘O’ positive blood group are more susceptible to infection by the virus than people of other blood groups, the research says.

CHIKWorldMap-061714

The researchers studied genetic predisposition to chikungunya fever, based on blood group antigens, on 100 families affected by the disease. They conducted blood group (ABO) tests by focusing on individuals who were likely to have a risk of chikungunya and identified the blood group involved in susceptibility/resistance to chikungunya.

The individuals were screened under four groups — A, B, AB and O. The result obtained showed that all Rh positive blood group individuals were susceptible to chikungunya fever.

Among ABO groups, O +ve individuals were found to bemore susceptible to chikungunya than other blood groups. No blood group with Rh negative was affected with chikungunya, indicating more resistance to chikungunya.

Source: natureINDIA

Chikungunya (pronunciation: \chik-en-gun-ye click to hear pronunciationExternal Web Site Icon) virus is transmitted to people by mosquitoes. The most common symptoms of chikungunya virus infection are fever and joint pain. Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash. Outbreaks have occurred in countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Indian and Pacific Oceans. In late 2013, chikungunya virus was found for the first time in the Americas on islands in the Caribbean. Chikungunya virus is not currently found in the United States. There is a risk that the virus will be imported to new areas by infected travelers. There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat chikungunya virus infection. Travelers can protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites. When traveling to countries with chikungunya virus, use insect repellent, wear long sleeves and pants, and stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens

By natureINDIA chart showing which blood types is more likely to get the virus