Chikungunya cases spur strategic talks

Three confirmed cases in Cayman spark concerns

The emergence of chikungunya cases in Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac has prompted public health officials to meet to discuss how to tackle the mosquito-borne virus. 

So far, three of the four local suspected cases have tested positive for the debilitating disease, with two cases in Cayman Brac, and one in Grand Cayman. 

Health officials also confirm that an investigation of two new suspected cases is under way. 

“The purpose of the meeting was to share amongst the stakeholders the current status of chikungunya [local and regional], testing protocols with CARPHA [Caribbean Public Health Agency], clinical management, public education, and vector control measures,” said Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kiran Kumar. 

Representatives from various agencies attended the meeting on July 2, including the Health Services Authority, Mosquito Research and Control, Environmental Health, Customs, Agriculture and the Department of Tourism, the Ministries of Health and Tourism, the Airports Authority, and Hazard Management Cayman Islands. 

“It was agreed to explore the public awareness of communicable diseases outbreaks on the international scene, similar to what is done in U.S. airports,” Dr. Kumar said.  

Public health officials also agreed to enhance public awareness of the virus through media and information leaflets. 

Minister of Health Osborne Bodden said he is confident that with cooperation and regular communication, the public sector would succeed in its efforts to control the disease in the Cayman Islands. 

In the meantime, officials are urging travelers to seek medical advice if they experience joint pains, fever and vomiting within two weeks of returning from another Caribbean country or southeast Asia. 

As a mosquito control measure, the public is also being asked to remove anything that might hold standing water outside their properties. 

The total number of confirmed cases of chikungunya in the Caribbean region has climbed to 5,227, according to an update released by Caribbean Public Health Agency on July 14.  

For information on travel plans and chikungunya in various countries, contact the Public Health Department at 244-2648.  

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