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Chikungunya and zika still circulating says CARPHA

Editorial Staff

Jan 25, 2023

CARPHA has warned Antigua and Barbuda and other Caribbean islands that diseases such as dengue, chikungunya and Zika are still circulating in the Caribbean and they should always be vigilant.

The Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency used a statement to the media on Wednesday to emphasize the importance of prevention and control measures to reduce the transmission of these viruses

CARPHA said it also remains committed to strengthening public health systems for early detection and response to the emergence, re-emergence, and spread of arboviral infections.

CARPHA’s Executive Director, Dr. Joy St John says the CARPHA Medical Microbiology Laboratory (CMML) has the capacity and remains ready to test and provide diagnostic confirmation of suspected cases in the region.

She said, “member States must maintain a strategic approach to surveillance and sample collection and submission to increase our chances of early identification of infections”.

Dr Joy also encouraged people to eliminate potential mosquito breeding sites in and around their homes

Meanwhile, CARPHA is also urging member states to strengthen routine surveillance for undifferentiated fever in their communities.

This advice according to CARPHA is based on the fact that there is an  increase in regional and international travel to the Caribbean and the presence of the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, “which are endemic to this region and transmit dengue, chikungunya and Zika”

To prevent the diseases, CARPHA said it is also critical for the various ministries of health to continue public education campaigns to “remind people of the importance of keeping their surroundings free of mosquito breeding sites and avoiding mosquito bites”.

This, according to CARPHA involves “keeping tires drums and barrels tightly covered and throwing out stagnant water from flower vases, old tyres, and other containers”

“Dengue, chikungunya and Zika are associated with moderate to severe health consequences, with young children and/or older age groups at higher risk. Symptoms of Zika include rash, fever, muscle and joint pain, and conjunctivitis. Zika has been confirmed as a cause of congenital abnormalities in neonates of women infected with Zika virus during pregnancy and is also a trigger of Guillain-Barré Syndrome,” CARPHA said.

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