Chikungunya in Suriname seen higher than official figures

( de Ware Tijd) PARAMARIBO – The number people infected with the chikungunya virus is far greater than official figures by the Bureau for Public Health (BOG) report. The lab connected to university hospital AZP has tested over 900 cases since the outbreak. John Codrington, head of the AZP lab confirms that most of the cases tested positive. He states that since many people with symptoms refuse to be examined by a doctor, the number of infected cases should likely be five to six times higher. The situation in the districts is increasingly alarming.
Codrington says efforts to fight the disease are poor; the several institutions, including the media, health and environment officials are not functioning well. He argues that the authorities are just groping around and that the best strategy right now would be damage control. Codrington fears that if this is the best we can do Suriname might be facing a catastrophe if the Ebola virus, which is wreaking havoc in Africa, finds its way to Suriname.
BOG figures indicate that so far fewer than 150 people have caught the disease which first emerged in the Caribbean a year ago and in April in Suriname. Of the 913 suspected cases tested by the AZP lab between 7 July and 14 September, 299 tested positive.
The AZP official warns the epidemic has not reached its peak yet.
Codrington suggests the authorities step up information campaigns. He fears the growing number of victims will have an enormous effect on the economy as sick people are increasingly withdrawn from the labor process. The official proposes a coordination team for coherent efforts to fight the disease. Lower legislative organs like district and resort councils should also assists in the efforts because they have closer contacts with the people.


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