One new imported chikungunya case

The number of confirmed cases of chikungunya in Cayman rose to 26 this month, but there have been no new locally acquired cases, health officials advised Wednesday.

Of the 26 confirmed cases of the mosquito-borne virus, four occurred locally, while 22 were contracted overseas, public health officials said in their latest update.

A dozen samples from suspected cases were sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency last week; of those, one tested positive for chikungunya and one for dengue fever, a virus with similar symptoms.

The patient who tested positive for chikungunya is a resident of North Side with travel history to Jamaica. The onset of symptoms was on Oct. 7, health officials said. The patient with dengue is a resident of West Bay who had travel history to Honduras. The onset of that patient’s symptoms was on Oct 1. Neither person is now considered infectious, health officials advised.

Among the 26 confirmed chikungunya cases, 16 were people who recently traveled to Jamaica.

“As an outbreak has been established in Jamaica (the region where we have reported the most imported cases), the Caribbean Public Health Agency has advised that only a limited number of samples with travel history will be tested as all of them will be clinically diagnosed and considered as suspected cases,” Dr. Kiran Kumar, medical officer of health, said in a statement.

“This means that since we have not had a locally transmitted case since 20 September, blood testing will be carried out for those without travel history, to consider if any local transmission is occurring.”

So far, imported cases include: two from the Dominican Republic, three from Guyana, 16 from Jamaica, and one from St. Lucia.

Since June 25, when the virus was first reported, health officials have investigated 122 cases of chikungunya in the Cayman Islands.