KINGSTON, Sept. 9 (JIS):
The Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC) has joined the Ministry of Health-led public education campaign on the chikungunya virus (chikV).
Mayor of Kingston, Senator Angela Brown Burke, today (September 9), made the announcement at a meeting of the Council at her Church Street chambers, in Downtown Kingston.
“Part of the campaign is to make sure that we are not harbouring breeding sites…in particular, it is important that as we seek to store water in this time of drought, we make sure that it is securely covered and treated,” she advised.
Senator Brown Burke urged Jamaicans to take responsibility for their own health and well-being.
The Mayor commended Councillors for taking the initiative to play an active role in educating themselves, and the people in their divisions about the virus and the measures that must be taken to protect themselves.
Meanwhile, she called on citizens experiencing symptoms which they think may be that of the virus, not to self-diagnose, but to allow medical personnel to make that determination.
“I know we are all concerned about the status of chikV in our communities, but I’m pleading that we allow the doctors to do the diagnosis….if you have flu-like symptoms, or any other symptom associated with chikV, seek medical attention,” she urged.
The Mayor emphasised that chikungunya symptoms mirror that of other viruses, and diagnosis is therefore “not an easy matter.”
To date, close to 200 samples have been received for testing for chikungunya, although not all of these are determined to be suspected cases of chikungunya.
The Ministry has recorded 85 suspected cases of chikungunya, with 24 confirmed by the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).
The parishes for which confirmations have been received are: Kingston and
St. Andrew, St. Thomas, St. Catherine, and St. Ann. Fifteen samples are awaiting testing and the others are being investigated.
In a release issued by the Health Ministry on Sunday, September 7, Director, Emergency, Disaster Management and Special Services, Dr. Marion Bullock Ducasse, pointed out that diseases with symptoms similar to chikungunya continue to circulate in the island.
“The case definition for chikungunya, which is in keeping with that of the Pan American Health Organization, is very sensitive, so that we do not miss any cases. This means that it includes symptoms similar to other diseases, such as influenza and dengue. While we urge persons to continue to visit their doctor or the nearest health centre if they experience any of the symptoms of chikungunya, we recognize that there are persons who will also be affected by influenza and dengue, based on the similarity of symptoms,” she said.