The Ministry of Health has reported the first case of chikungunya in a Barbadian with no known travel history. The other six cases confirmed so far have all been imported into the island.
In its effort to stem the spread, the Ministry is continuing its surveillance and public education programmes, as well as its fogging programme, especially in areas with a high presence of adult mosquitoes.
It has also called on residents to play their part in this exercise by doing everything they can to prevent mosquito breeding, including getting rid of debris and stagnant water on their premises, especially during the rainy season.
Since the first confirmed case in the Caribbean last December, the chikungunya virus, transmitted by the aedes aegypti mosquito and the aedes albopictus mosquito, has been detected in 25 Caribbean territories.
Some symptoms are similar to dengue fever and these include sudden high fever, headache, rash, nausea and muscle pain. However, the stiffness and severe joint pain experienced, especially in the wrists, knuckles or ankles, is more often associated with chikungunya. Fever may last from a few days to a few weeks, and some patients have reported debilitating arthritic pain, which has persisted for weeks or months.
There is no vaccine for chikungunya and treatment is symptomatic. It may include rest, fluids and medication for pain and fever. However, aspirin should be avoided.