Twelve more cases of chikungunya – Ministry

Twelve more cases of the mosquito-borne disease chikungunya have been confirmed after further samples were sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) in Trinidad and Tobago for testing and analysis, GINA said in a statement yesterday.

GINA said Health Minister Dr Bheri Ramsaran had confirmed 12 more cases of the mosquito-borne disease while stating that an epidemiologist, Dr. Morris Edwards, was analysing the data.

This new figure carries the total number of cases up to 31. The first 19 cases originated in Canje, Berbice.

GINA further stated that while Guyana has the National Public Health Reference Laboratory, it does not have trained staff to conduct tests for chikungunya and thus the samples were sent to the CARPHA.

However, a spot for a national public health laboratory biomedical technologist has been secured in Atlanta, US, where the person would be trained in laboratory diagnostics for chikungunya.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) was approached by Ramsaran, who was seeking to access training for a staff of the lab, GINA said while adding that public health measures were ongoing to rid communities of mosquitoes.

According to GINA, information provided by the CDC states that up to June 27, 2014, local transmission had been identified in 22 countries in the Caribbean, Central America, or South America.  A total of 259,723 suspected and 4,721 laboratory-confirmed chikungunya cases had been reported from these areas.

Chikungunya is transmitted by the aedes mosquito and mimics the symptoms of dengue fever. Symptoms may last up to seven days.

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