My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Jamaica's Chikungunya Deaths – 14 Deaths in Jamaica, 183 in the Caribbean with Young, Healthy Deaths difficult to explain

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Jamaica's Chikungunya Deaths – 14 Deaths in Jamaica, 183 in the Caribbean with Young, Healthy Deaths difficult to explain

“Three cases did not meet the case definition for CHIKV, so we cannot say they were CHIKV related deaths because the persons did not have CHIKV. Two of the six remaining cases were confirmed in the lab as having had CHIKV, one tested negative and the other three are still under investigation,”

Acting Chief Medical Officer in the Ministry of Health, Dr Marion Bullock-DuCasse speaking during the JIS ‘Think Tank’ held on Tuesday February 24th 2015

The Government of Jamaica is now under pressure about the extent to which the Chikungunya Virus has killed Jamaicans.

This as it has been revealed that of the fourteen (14) cases of persons suspected to have died from the Chikungunya Virus, only two (2) persons seem to have even had Chikungunya as reported in the article “14 Chik-V-Related Death Notifications, Reports Health Ministry”,  Published Wednesday February 25, 2015 by Anastasia Cunningham, The Jamaica Gleaner.



This story was also carried by the Jamaica Observer as stated in the article “14 suspected CHIKV-related deaths, 2 confirmed”, published Tuesday, February 24, 201, The Jamaica Observer.

But there article is mere reproduction of what was spoken by Acting Chief Medical Officer in the Ministry of Health, Dr Marion Bullock-DuCasse during the JIS ‘Think Tank’ held on Tuesday February 24th 2015 as reported by the Horses' mouth, the Jamaica Information Service in the article “Of 14 Deaths Suspected of CHIKV Two Have Been Confirmed”, published February 24, 2015 by Peta-Gay Hodges, The Jamaica Information Service.

So what’s really going on here?

Is Dr Marion Bullock-DuCasse manipulating statistics again so that the layman cannot understand as was my arguement in my blog article entitled “24 Chikungunya Virus Cases - Ministry of Health PR Game as Mr. Baugh states Chikungunya Viruses Cases underreported”.

Or is it really a case that no-one actually died from the Chikungunya Virus?

Cases of Chikungunya Virus – Evidence that the Chikungunya Virus doesn’t cause death

According to statements from Acting Chief Medical Officer in the Ministry of Health, Dr Marion Bullock-DuCasse, the fourteen (14) deceased in these cases broke down as follows:

1.      3 persons did not have the Chikungunya Virus
2.      2 confirmed to have had the Chikungunya Virus
3.      1 tested "negative" for the Chikungunya Virus
4.      3 still having their samples tested and circumstances of death being investigated

The MOH (Ministry of Health) is going about the testing of Samples and the circumstances of death to rule out the possibility that the Chikungunya Virus played a role in their Death.

CHIKV is a Class 1 Notifiable Disease, meaning as soon as persons suspect that members of their community or immediate family shows signs of illness, it should be reported to the nearest doctors so that tests can be done.

Once the tests return as positive, then they are counted among the infected, as the Ministry of Health has to use official figures of those Jamaicans who went through the system.

To quote Dr Marion Bullock-DuCasse: “It is important to note that the suspected cases are from those reported and that it is evident that the majority of cases have not been reported to the Ministry, bearing in mind that persons who are ill and do not seek medical attention cannot be included in the ministry figures. Those figures include those notified, then reviewed to see if they meet the case definition of CHIKV, and that is the number that is used to denote the suspected cases. If a person sees a doctor, but the case is not reported, the ministry cannot count it. This holds true for every disease outbreak”.

The samples submitted by Doctors for Testing for the Chikungunya Virus is quite a handful:

1.      4,979 samples submitted for testing for the Chikungunya Virus
2.      1,670 have tested positive for the Chikungunya Virus

To quote Dr Marion Bullock-DuCasse: “The cause of death would have to be looked at. Some people may have had a chronic illness and CHIKV would cause more severe symptoms, but not necessarily cause their death. We have to be very careful in not giving the impression that everybody who has had CHIKV, whether suspected or confirmed and has died, that it is due to CHIKV. The Ministry can assist in terms of investigation and helping to clarify exactly what the cause of death was”.

So they may not be manipulating statistics. But not everyone has JA$10,000 to do a Chikungunya Test.

With such a step price to get tested, many who may genuinely be affected with the Chikungunya Virus may have escape the Ministry of Health's official tally as concluded in my blog article entitled “Jamaican Chikungunya Virus cover-up - JA$10,000 for Chikungunya Virus Test as Tropical Storm Edouard boost Aedes aegypti Mosquito”.

Thus of those not in the official tally who may have died, the possibility still exists that they may have indeed died  from being infected by the Chikungunya Virus. The excuse that a person died from complications from other illness i.e. the Chikungunya Virus weakening of their immune system made their current health situation  worse, is all to convenient.

It could be inductively deduced that everyone had an underlying complication and thus did not die directly from the Chikungunya Virus, thereby absolving the Government of Jamaica of Blame. Doctors, being as the want to remain loyal to the Ministry of Health, would of course, in their clever guile, makes sure that anyone that they’re diagnosing who was suspected of dying directly from the Chikungunya Virus would wind up being also diagnosed with an underlying illness.

This bias would make it very difficult to make a claim that a death was directly due to the Chikungunya virus and would effectively be a Doctor-assisted cover-up.  

Jamaican concerned over Ministry of Health Cover-up – Young, healthy deaths difficult to explain

Many Jamaicans are rightly concerned that the Government is trying to cover-up many Deaths that may be directly due to the Chikungunya Virus as noted in the article “Ferguson Under Fire As Concerns Grow Over Mounting Body Count”, published Tuesday February 24, 2015 by   Anastasia Cunningham, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Still, concerned Jamaicans won't get much support from PAHO (Pan American Health Organization) , who receives official reports on the Chikungunya Virus Epidemic from the Ministry of Health of the various Caribbean Countries. Based on their February 2015 update:

1.      1.2 million suspected cases of the Chikungunya Virus in the Caribbean
2.      1,669 suspected cases of the Chikungunya Virus from Jamaica
3.      183 deaths possibly due to the Chikungunya Virus in the Caribbean
4.      No official confirmed deaths related directly to the Chikungunya Virus in Jamaica

Still, the real impact of the Chikungunya Virus has been economic, with the PSOJ (Private Sector Organization of Jamaica) reporting the following statistics since the outbreak began in 2014:

1.      13 million man-hours lost as a result of the outbreak last year
2.      JA$6 billion in economic losses i.e. lost productive
3.      60% of staff alledgedly affected by the Chikungunya Virus

50% to 60% of the Jamaican population is estimated to have been affected by the Chikungunya Virus as stated by Dr Kevin Harvey, who was Acting Chief Medical Officer back in September 2014 in my blog article entitled “Minister of Health comes clean on Chikungunya Virus Epidemic - 35 Official Cases as 60 percent possibly Infected and Medicines running low”.

Clearly Jamaica can't take much more, as even I, doing the Professional Diploma in Teaching course at the MICO University College and many of my fellow Miconians are still suffering the debilitating effects of the Chikungunya Virus. to quote PSOJ President William Mahfood in early March 2015, quote: “We cannot afford another event like the chik-V epidemic, for which no one was held accountable, even though it cost the country so much in terms of deaths and GDP (gross domestic product)”.

It may get worse as many Jamaicans, whose immune systems may still weakened by the Chikungunya Virus, may still be prone to dengue hemorrhagic fever also spread by the same Aedes aegypti mosquito.

We may even be prone to H1N1, a more virulent strain of the Influenza Virus also called Swine Flu now ravaging India and possibly on its way to infect Jamaicans due to our poor Vector control as I'd predicted in my blog article entitled “Jamaican Chikungunya Outbreak possible – Why H1N1 Outbreak in Jamaica possible as 1,731 die in India from H1N1 Outbreak”.

The best cases in my mind are those involving persons who are very young thus should be in a near perfect stated of health, as complications would really be more the domain of older people, who would already be suffering from a range of illnesses from diabetes to Heart and Liver diseases due to their lifestyle.

Thus the deaths of seven year-old Xavier Miller who attended Mona Primary School in St. Andrew, and 14 year old Azee Baker, a student at the St. Jago High School in Spanish Town, St. Catherine as reported in the article “Two students' deaths being linked to Chikungunya”, published Friday October 3, 2014 RJR News Online and “Education Minister Calls on Parents to Be on Alert for Sick Children”, published October 3, 2014 By Byron Buckley, Director, Corporate Communication, The Jamaica Information Service.

Deaths from Chikungunya in the Caribbean - St. Vincent and the Grenadines investigating two suspected deaths

In other Caribbean countries such St., Vincent and the Grenadines, their Healthy Authority is also facing pressure from their populations with regards to two (2) deaths being related to the Chikungunya Virus as noted in the article “St Vincent authorities investigating two suspected Chikungunya deaths”, published Monday, December 29, 2014, The Jamaica Observer.

Their Health Ministry is taking the official stance of determining if the persons had the Chikungunya Virus. the Ministry of Health in St. Vincent and the Grenadines are also investigating these persons Health records to see if they had a previous illnesses that would make them prone to dying from complications made worse by the Chikungunya Virus and not directly from the effects of the Virus itself.

Given their small island size and equally small medical staff, they've seemed to be managing the Chikungunya Virus Epidemic quite well since it was first officially confirmed in April 2014:

1.      1,220 samples submitted for testing for the Chikungunya Virus
2.      173 have tested positive for the Chikungunya Virus

Like Jamaica, they too will have to await confirmation before it can be said that they died of complications made worse by the Chikungunya Virus and not directly from the effects of the Virus itself.




Post a Comment