Chikungunya in the Caribbean: Jamaica declares a state of emergency

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Well, this is bad news. The global health blogosphere has been following Chikungunya ever since its jump across the Atlantic to the Caribbean at the end of last year, and then to Florida this summer. However, apparently it's gotten so bad now that Jamaica has declared a state of emergency in response to it.
Jamaican prime minister Portia Simpson Miller announced that the island nation is in a 'national emergency' this week over the outbreak of Chikungunya.

The mosquito-borne virus shares similar symptoms to Dengue, often leading to fever and joint pain that can last from days to years.

"I want to stress that we are in a national emergency," Simpson Miller said, "I have therefore, assumed a lead role in mobilizing the nation and national resources."

Earlier this month the Jamaican government launched an Emergency Response Team to coordinate national actions to contain the Chinkungunya virus and reduce the number of cases. The government designated US$4.5 million in state resources for the team's efforts.
I traveled to St. Lucia this month, and the local people are definitely concerned; I even met an unfortunate Canadian women who had contracted both dengue and Chikungunya at the same . Lucky for us, a vaccine is in the works and has shown promise in early clinical trials.

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