Chikungunya Outbreak

July 2014

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Aedes aegypti

The Chikungunya Virus, (of which there has been a recent outbreak in the Caribbean) is transmitted via the Aedas aegypti and Aedas albopictus mosquitoes which are the same mosquitoes that transmit Dengue Fever. These mosquitoes bite mostly during the daytime and are easily recognisable by the white bands on their legs. Cases of the virus have been reported in the Caribbean islands of Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Martinique, Puerto Rico, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sint Maarten, Turks and Caicos Islands and British Virgin Islands.

The symptoms of Chikungunya are similar to those of Dengue Fever and usually begin within 3-7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. The most common symptoms are fever and joint pain but may also include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling or rash. Chikungunya does not result in death but the symptoms can be severe and disabling. Most patients feel better within a week but there have been cases where joint pain has persisted for months.

To decrease the symptoms, patients are advised to drink plenty water to prevent dehydration, and take medicines such as paracetamol to relieve fever and pain.

Crew members should use repellents containing DEET when ships call in infected areas and wear long sleeved shirts and long pants where the weather permits. Any containers such as buckets which may contain standing water should be emptied as these can be used as breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

If any crewmembers present with the symptoms mentioned above, they should seek medical attention.


We are grateful to Club correspondents Cariconsult International Ltd, Barbados, for providing us with this information.