St Lucia GIS
The virus is more widely distributed; health officials stress reduction of breeding sites
This week, health officials from Saint Lucia confirmed a total of twelve (12) cases of Chikungunya virus infection.
Nahum Jn. Baptiste the island’s National Epidemiologist in the Ministry of Health said there has been a wider spread of the virus in Saint Lucia.
“In terms of distribution, the areas which have been affected are Anse La Raye, Castries, Dennery, Gros Islet and Vieux Fort. So it is not confined to one area.”
In terms of demographics, Jn. Baptiste said females seem to be more affected by the virus.
“We are seeing more women, although the numbers are still small and we are expecting some more confirmed cases, we are seeing more women above the age of 25 affected compared to males and persons in the other age groups.”
According the Saint Lucia’s National Epidemiologist, there have so far been only two cases of children under the age of 15 infected.
The first confirmed case of Chikungunya on the island was recorded towards the end of February 2014. More cases emerged twards the end of April.
The Ministry of Health official said the agency is moving as quickly as possible to implement its control measures which includes heightening environmental management. Jn. Baptiste says where suspect cases occur, especially in the affected areas mentioned previously, the public is encouraged to reduce the breeding sites of the Aedes egypti mosquito.
Persons are also being asked to try to avoid being bitten by the mosquito through the use of repellants or mosquito nets.
“The most important and effective control measure is to reduce the habitat of the Aedes egypti mosquito. With the rainy season approaching, make sure that you cover your water storage drums, look under your flower vases where you have plates, look for the larvae and get rid of them.”
Jn. Baptiste says it is important to stop transmission of the virus from mosquitoes to humans.