Published On: Thu, Aug 14th, 2014

More chikungunya infections inevitable

Chikungunya virusWILLEMSTAD – "People move around so it is almost certain that there will more chikungunya infections,” Sirving Kely, sector director at the Ministry of Health, said. 21 Cases of chikungunya were registered last week in Curacao. These people became ill in early July.

Because the virus is visible in the blood only after two weeks, it took three weeks before it was known that these people had the virus. “The official confirmation has been delayed with three weeks, thus the mosquitoes have also been active for three weeks now,” Kely said.

The victims were generally from the areas of Stenen Koraal and Muzienberg. This is why these areas were treated with insecticide. Residents were asked on Friday and Monday to close their doors and windows and keep their pets inside. Despite the warning, this insecticide, according to Kely, is not harmful for the health of the people. The active substance is permithrin and is used around the world in most pesticides.

To counteract propagation of mosquitoes, the Ministry will make sure that the neighborhoods are actively involved in prevention. Water sources should disappear by giving awareness. "We had a meeting with stakeholders from the neighborhoods where we have sprayed" Kely goes further. "In other areas where there are many mosquitoes, we're going to hand out fliers." The virus will be monitored in the meantime, but Kely agrees that preventing more infections is difficult. "Spraying is actually the last resort. We have done this now, because the cases were really concentrated in those areas, but prevention is the best way to limit the spreading of this virus.”

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