Shortly after the Ministry of Health of St. Vincent and the Grenadines reported it was “bracing itself ” for a chikungunya outbreak around the time of World Health Day two weeks ago, the Caribbean Media Corporation is now reporting the mosquito borne virus, which took hold in the Caribbean in early December, has now been confirmed in the island chain.
According to a Jamaica Observer report Thursday, three cases have been confirmed. The confirmation of the disease comes just after the Easter weekend, when large numbers of Vincentians visited Bequia for the celebrations there.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is an island country in the Lesser Antilles Island arc, in the southern portion of the Windward Islands, which lie at the southern end of the eastern border of the Caribbean Sea where the latter meets the Atlantic Ocean (Wikipedia). For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page.
According to the World HealthOrganization, Chikungunya is a mosquito-borne viral disease first described during an outbreak in southern Tanzania in 1952. The name ‘chikungunya’ derives from a root verb in the Kimakondelanguage, meaning “to become contorted” and describes the stooped appearance of sufferers with joint pain.
Chikungunya is characterized by an abrupt onset of fever frequently accompanied by joint pain. Other common signs and symptoms include muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash. The joint pain is often very debilitating, but usually ends within a few days or weeks.
Most patients recover fully, but in some cases joint pain may persist for several months, or even years. Occasional cases of eye, neurological and heart complications have been reported, as well as gastrointestinal complaints.
There is no treatment for chikungunya and no preventive vaccine for the viral disease. Travelers can protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites.