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July 16, 2014
Star News


First case of virus hits Jamaica

The Ministry of Health is stating that it has detected a suspected imported case of the chikungunya virus.

Chief Medical Officer, Dr Kevin Harvey, says the case is of an individual who travelled from an affected country and fell ill. The individual had screening tests done at a private laboratory in Jamaica which indicated the illness.

A sample was taken and sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) for confirmation. Should this be positive, it will confirm Jamaica's first imported case of the chikungunya virus.

"This does not indicate local spread of the virus and we continue to monitor persons living in and around areas visited by the individual. We have heightened our vector control activities to reduce the possibility of local spread," Harvey explained in a release.

The Ministry of Health has reportedly put measures in place for more than two years in anticipation of chikungunya virus reaching our shores.

Persons travelling to and from countries which have confirmed cases of the virus should ensure that they protect themselves from mosquito bites by using insect repellent containing DEET, and covering their body as much as possible by wearing long sleeved clothing for example.

There is no specific treatment for the chikungunya virus, nor is there a vaccine. Symptoms of the virus include high fever, headache, muscle pain, joint pain mainly in the limbs and large joints and a rash. Although it does not often result in death, joint pains and stiffness can last for months and even years. It may become a source of chronic pain and disability.

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