In what was expected by many, the chikungunya epidemic plaguing the Caribbean island of Hispaniola is exploding with no end in sight.
In Haiti, which comprises the western third of the island, the number of cases are skyrocketing. According to a release from the Haitian Health Ministry yesterday (computer translated), Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP) press officer, Mr. Ronald Singer says, “The latest statistics on the epidemic chikungunya as of Friday, May 30, 2014 , report fifteen thousand people to be reached despite measures taken to restrain the spread.”
This is significantly higher than the most recent Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) numbers from May 30, which maintains Haiti at just above 6,300 cases.
“At least one case of chikungunya is registered in 95 municipalities of the 144 municipalities in the country for its 21st epidemiological week” , said Dr. Marie Raymond Guirlaine Charity, Executive Director of MSPP.
“You must commit to the highest level in the struggle because there is risk in the home. Whole government is sensitized against chikungunya , we need to get up to our task”, Dr. Charity notes. To facilitate interventions and fumigation and treatment of breeding sites on the ground, an envelope average of five hundred thousand gourdes (the Haitian currency, $1= 44 gourdes) was set to available to each Departmental Directorate .
The eastern two-thirds of Hispaniola, the Dominican Republic, is faring no better in terms of the chikungunya outbreak as number of cases there also continue to grow at a rapid rate. The PAHO puts the case tally at more than 38,600.
The situation in the Dominican Republic prompted health officials to have a “National Day” of prevention and control of chikungunya Friday where thousands were mobilized to go door to door to guide families on how to eliminate mosquito breeding sites to prevent the spread of diseases like dengue and chikungunya.
Dr. Carmen Adames, director of the Dengue strategy, said employees from these institutions, which serve as volunteers, orient house to house, apply larvicides and distributed chlorine to be spread on top of the tanks and other containers are used to store water, distributed educational material. There will also be loudspeakers, banners and other promotional items.
Health writer at Examiner.com, Charles Simmins shares an interesting and frightening piece of analysis:
The Dominican Republic and Haiti share the island of Hispaniola. The two nations combine for a population of about 21 million. Over 51,000 cases have been announced as of May 30. The Institut Pasteur notes that 36 percent of the population of Reunion Island became ill in its 2005 chikungunya epidemic. That suggests the toll on Hispaniola could approach 7.5 million patients.
In the state of Florida, health officials revealed that at least 10 imported chikungunya cases have been recognized to date, of that total seven had travel history to Hispaniola.
Overall, the chikungunya epidemic in the Caribbean and South America has affected some 107,000 people in 17 countries and territories. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page.