A little over a year after the island nation of Dominica reported their first local transmission of chikungunya virus, the Ministry of Health and Environment has declared the Chikungunya epidemic officially over as of January 23rd 2015.
Chief Medical Officer, Dr. David Johnson said last week although the outbreak is over that does not mean that there are no cases on island.
“The World Health Organisation uses a standard which indicates that if after two maximum incubation periods, there are no new cases reported then once can officially declare that the outbreak is over.”
He went on to say that this doesn’t mean that there is no Chikungunya at all on the island. The authorities have not seen any new documented cases for over 42 days.
Since January 2014, Dominica has reported more than 5,500 autochthonous chikungunya cases, according to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
Johnson said, “Some countries in the region are still grappling with Chikungunya. I think because of the proactive action taken by the Ministry of Health, stakeholders and the Dominican population, we were able to control the outbreak.”
Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes such as Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. It can cause high fever, join and muscle pain, and headache.
Chikungunya does not often result in death, but the joint pain may last for months or years and may become a cause of chronic pain and disability.
There is no specific treatment for chikungunya infection, nor any vaccine to prevent it. Pending the development of a new vaccine, the only effective means of prevention is to protect individuals against mosquito bites.