My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Ministry of Health confirms four persons with Chikungunya Virus – Chic-V Just Turn Up in the Hurricane Season as Ebola Virus is coming

Monday, August 11, 2014

Ministry of Health confirms four persons with Chikungunya Virus – Chic-V Just Turn Up in the Hurricane Season as Ebola Virus is coming

“The capacity of our laboratory will be crucial in the event that we need to test for Ebola. I would like to assure you that we will continue to enjoy the support of the University of the West Indies Virology Lab, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Caribbean Public Health Agency for testing if needed”

Minister of Health, Dr. Fenton Ferguson speaking at a News Press Conference on Thursday August 7th 2014 on the level of preparedness Jamaica has against the Ebola Virus

And now there are four. There are now four persons infected with the Chikungunya Virus as confirmed by the Minister of Health Dr. Fenton Ferguson as stated in the article “Health ministry tackles chikungunya as two new cases confirmed”, published Friday, August 08, 2014, The Jamaica Observer.

The first Chikungunya Virus case that caught my eye was on Thursday July 17th 2014 about which I did an article based on information from a Call Center Contact of mine in my blog article entitled “Chikungunya Virus now confirmed in Jamaica - Female Traveller From Florida via Puerto Rico and How to fight Chic-V”. This was a woman from Portmore who travelled from Puerto Rico then Florida and back to Jamaica and may have picked up the infection there before coming to Jamaica

Since then a second case was confirmed on Monday July 28th 2014, I haven’t been able to get more info from my usual Call Center source on who that persons was, only to say that it was an imported case also. But the recent news is of greater importance, as these two additional persons infected by the Chikungunya Virus are an indication of local spread i.e. It’s no longer imported.

The Two persons, who apparently reported being ill, were tested and their blood samples sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency, who confirmed that they were indeed infected by the Chikungunya Virus on the afternoon of Tuesday, August 5th 2014. They become the first two known Jamaican infected via Local Transmission i.e. they got bitten by a Aedes aegypti Mosquito that’s infected with the Chikungunya Virus.

Four persons with Chikungunya Virus – Ebola Virus will have a field day spreading in Jamaica

To this end, the Ministry of Health is now on a Fever Watch, tracking every occurrence of Fever that’s reported to any local Clinic or Public Hospital islandswide, to quote the Minister of Health, Dr. Fenton Ferguson at a News Press Conference on Thursday August 7th 2014: “Fever surveillance and contact investigation are still taking place. We have also increased the capacity of the vector control teams across the island by providing additional equipment and supplies. The public health team has put in place vector control measures at the commercial offices of one of the affected persons. Health educators have been conducting education sessions and distributing material in the affected communities”.

Ok, gentle people, now we’ve got an epidemic on our hands and the Ministry of Health has activated their EOC (Emergency Operations Centre)…... now what? Well Ebola Virus is next and it is coming to Jamaica, as truth be told, Jamaican Doctors are in no way equipped to deal with an Ebola Epidemic.

After all, if they couldn’t stop the spread of Chikungunya Virus, then the Ebola Virus is only a plane ride away as noted in the article “Health ministry advise against non-essential travel to Ebola affected countries” Published Friday August 8, 2014 3:35 pm, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Chikungunya Virus Local spread – Chic-V on the Loose because Hurricane Season Just Turn Up

Folks, it’s like I’m some kinda prophet, no?

After all, to my credit in my blog article above, I did predict that a local spread was in the offing, as it’s next to near impossible to quarantine people at an airport.

Travellers, knowing that they’ve just come from a country that’s infected and seeing that Customer can impound them indefinitely if they’re from a country that’s got the Chikungunya Virus, will naturally lie in order to get through Customs smoothly. That can only be determined by the Customs Officers knowing beforehand that a group of passengers coming through the gates are indeed from one of the listed infected countries.

Even then, if quarantined, those facilities are just not at the airport. If the facility for quarantine is not close to the airport, then it stands to reason that in being transported from the airport to that facility, they might end up being bitten along the way by mosquitoes and thus unknowingly the spread would have begun.

Add to that fact that the Rains have decided to start falling at last. But that means any containers that are filling up with water will create breeding ground for the Aedes aegypti Mosquito, who will be aggressively breeding, especially in parts of Jamaica are close to where these four infected persons live. To that end, the EOC has heightened surveillance of symptoms in the following three parishes:

1.      Kingston and St Andrew
2.      St Thomas
3.      St Catherine

EOC  needs to set up a field hospital at the Norman Manley International Airport and once aircraft from the Caribbean and Florida land, they will be required to submit saliva, urine and blood samples for immediate testing by EOC along with their Contact Credentials i.e. Name Address and phone number. This would of course be explained to passengers before they disembark from the airplane. If they’re infected with either Chikungunya Virus or Ebola Virus, they can be found and quarantined immediately.

Jamaica, we’re standing on the edge of an Abyss. Chikungunya Virus will be Africa and the Caribbean’s Dark Horse Gift for Christmas 2014 as they only way to develop immunity is to get sick and recover! Jamaica therefore needs to keep track of anyone from any French speaking island i.e. Haiti, as well as from Florida as these are the main travel gateways by which persons carrying the disease will travel. 

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