Environmental Health Officer empty drum; Jefferson Scotland, Chief Environmental Health Officer; engorged mosquito
Environmental Health Officer empty drum; Jefferson Scotland, Chief Environmental Health Officer; engorged mosquito

One year ago the Chikungunya Virus caused by the Ades Egypti Mosquito invaded Dominica. But now the country's "army" says the battle has been won. No more Chikungunya.

"The first case was just about late January early February in the village of Good Hope, then from Good Hope it spread to the suburbs, then it went to the major areas, then Woodford Hill and Bath Estate which were really the two communities that had prone Chikungunya and from there it just took over the island," stated Anthony Scotland the Chief Environmental Health Officer (CEHO).

Speaking to the Sun last week about the latest situation concerning the disease, Scotland said he was prepared to declare that the Chikungunya Virus Epidemic is officially over.

"For the past four to five weeks we haven't seen any cases of Chikungunya. From since it started in terms of confirmed cases 173 people were diagnosed with the Chikungunya Virus and 3590 suspected cases and no deaths," stated Scotland.

But though there hasn't been an outbreak in quite a while, the National Pest and Termite Control Company still works tirelessly to treat the breeding areas of the mosquitoes.

"What National Pest does every day is do what they call lava survey; they go on the ground and do inspection of houses and treat where the mosquitoes are breeding; on a daily basis there is a team of people that are doing that," stated Mr Scotland.

Scotland then revealed that the health districts of Roseau and Marigot were the two districts with the highest cases of people confirmed with the virus. He explained that he found it quite odd there were so many reported cases in the community of Bath Estate seeing that the community has portable water.

"In the Roseau and Marigot Health District had the most cases of persons confirmed with the Chikungunya Virus this was because of the storage of water in containers. This area in the district of Roseau spreads from Scotts Head down to Warner. In the Scotts Head area there was a total blow out of Chikungunya because of water being stored in areas around the homes. In the areas like Yam Piece, Tarish Pit and Fond Cole those were high areas; Kingshill and Bath Estate was supposed to be an area where you have portable water in your home they were still storing water around their yard," stated the CEHO.

Chikungunya is a viral illness that resembles dengue fever and it is spread by the bite of infected mosquitoes. The fever is characterized by severe, sometimes persistent, joint pain (arthritis), as well as fever and rash. The main difference between dengue and Chikungunya is joint pain.

Chikungunya virus was first isolated from the blood of a febrile patient in Tanzania in 1953. Since then it has caused several human epidemics in many areas of Africa and Asia and most recently in limited areas of Europe. During the recent outbreak, it was first discovered in the French Islands and in St. Marten among other countries of the Caribbean. However, it is not a life threatening disease. But the widespread occurrence of the fever caused substantial morbidity and economic loss.

Scotland then noted that though the Health Department is pleased that the virus is eradicated, he urged the public to be vigilant. He emphasised the fact that he wants the public to still be mindful of the breeding areas of the mosquitoes and to ensure that the environment is maintained clean.

A document from the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) dated February 9, 2015 on the Chikungunya Update 53 revealed that as of February 7, 2015, 21,733 confirmed/probable cases of Chikungunya have been reported across the region.

Of these, 4,485 cases were reported from all 24 CARPHA Member States (CMS). A total of 17,248 confirmed/probable cases have been reported from 11 other countries/territories in the Caribbean region. There have been 176 deaths reported to date: one death was reported from one of the 24 CMS.