One new local chikungunya case confirmed

One new chikungunya case has been contracted locally, health officials advised, bringing the total number of locally transmitted cases to six. 

In their latest update, Cayman Islands public health officials said a total of 30 local and imported cases of the mosquito-borne virus have been confirmed. 

Five blood samples from suspected cases were sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency; of those, a patient from George Town, with no travel history, tested positive for chikungunya. The patient began showing symptoms of the virus on Oct. 21, officials said. The six 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. The last reported locally transmitted case involved a resident of West Bay who started showing symptoms on Oct. 11. 

“The Public Health Department, in collaboration with other agencies such as Mosquito Research Control Unit, continue surveillance efforts for the identification of locally acquired cases,” said Dr. Samuel Williams, acting medical officer of health.  

“With only one positive case of local transmission since the week beginning Oct. 27 to date, the containment measures are proving to be effective so far,” said Mr. Williams. Fourteen potential chikungunya cases in Cayman were being investigated during the week of Oct. 28 to Nov. 3. 

The number of locally contracted 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. This effort includes eight treatments per day in George Town, from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m., and from 5:15 p.m. to 7 p.m. Mr. Petrie said the fogging treatments have been put on hold in recent days due to windy weather conditions. 

“We had the same program going all through the weekend, but it is on hold for the moment until the wind drops,” said Mr. Petrie. 

Cayman has no travel ban in place to and from countries where the virus is more prevalent. Mr. Petrie said, “All you can do is try to control the mosquitos that are transmitting it.” The total number of suspected cases of chikungunya reported since June 25 is 152. The total number of results received thus far in Cayman is 104, of which 30 were positive, 71 negative and three inconclusive. 

Chikungunya causes fever, severe joint pain, muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash. 

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