Health Minister, Dr Bheri Ramsaran on Tuesday revealed that two cases of Chikungunya have been identified in Guyana.
He made this disclosure at a media briefing during which he said that the cases were from Canje, Berbice, and authorities have since dispatched a five-member medical team to the area.
The Minister said after there was an outbreak of the disease in the Caribbean, steps were taken by the Health Ministry to monitor the situation in Guyana.
Dr Ramsaran disclosed that they had quietly engaged in a countrywide campaign, which saw medical staff at the various health centres and hospitals being informed to look out for Chikungunya symptoms in patients. The ports of entry were also warned to look out for the disease. “We have been very vigilant,” the Minister said.
He noted that a report was made that there was an increase of cases with the same symptoms as Chikungunya in New Amsterdam; as such, samples were taken from those cases and sent to a lab in Trinidad for testing. The Minister disclosed that a total of 84 suspected cases were identified; however, only 30 samples were sent to Trinidad. He added that on Saturday, eight case reports were returned, and two samples were positive for Chikungunya.
One of the cases is from Cumberland and the other from Canefield, both in Canje. These cases involve a four-year-old child and a 40-year-old woman. The Health Minister said the team sent to Berbice would be stationed there until the campaign is over.
He added that now that the infected area has been identified, his Ministry is working along with the Region Six officials to provide more protection to residents.
Dr Ramsaran pointed out that with this disclosure, they have heightened fogging and vector control exercises not only in Berbice but will continue the campaign in Georgetown as well.
Meanwhile, Chief Medical Officer Dr Shamdeo Persaud is advising citizens to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves from the disease.
He urged residents to make use of nets and get rid of any water-filled containers or pot-holes in yards since they are breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
Dr Persaud is encouraging persons who have dengue-fever symptoms to seek immediate medical attention since it might be Chikungunya as the symptoms are similar.