KINGSTON, Jamaica — The ministry of health has confirmed another four locally transmitted cases of chikungunya in Jamaica. Director of emergency, disaster management and special services, Dr Marion Bullock DuCasse, said the positive results were received on Wednesday from samples sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency . This brings the total number of confirmed cases for Jamaica to eight – six from local transmission and two imported.
“The ministry will continue with its public education and intense vector control activities, including fogging of the surrounding areas and communities in which the affected persons reside,” DuCasse said.
The affected parishes include St Thomas, St Catherine, St Ann and Kingston and St Andrew.
DuCasse explained that the ministry of health awaits confirmation from CARPHA of a suspected case at the University of the West Indies.
She added that although there is now local transmission of chikungunya, there are measures individuals can take to significantly reduce the spread of the disease by limiting opportunities for the Aedes aegypti mosquito to breed. The mosquito is domesticated and breeds in containers where water settles in and around the home, school, business places, places of worship and other areas where people generally gather.
“I would like to stress that individual responsibility is important for us to reduce the mosquito population. Each citizen has to recognize the role that they have to play in ensuring that they do not provide opportunities for mosquitoes to breed in their environment. This will assist with limiting the spread of chikungunya,” DuCasse said.
Residents are urged to search for and destroy mosquito breeding sites by getting rid of old tires and containers in which water can settle, punching holes in tins before disposing, and covering large drums, barrels and tanks holding water.
The Pan American Health Organization has reported that as of Aug. 1, 2014, 31 countries and territories in the Americas have reported that they have local transmission of chikungunya and 23 with imported cases. There have been a total of 508,122 suspected cases reported and 4,736 confirmed as being locally transmitted. In addition there have been a reported total of 535 confirmed imported cases and 32 deaths.