While anecdotal evidence points to a major increase in the number of island residents suffering from the debilitating virus Chikungunya, sources say Public Health staff have been told they are not allowed to say anything to the news media about the disease, which has varying degrees of severity and can last anything from a week to several months or more.
“The only person who is allowed to talk to the news about it now is the Director of Community Health Services, Dr Neti Herman,” one source said.
After trying unsuccessfully for several days to phone Dr Herman, CI News yesterday emailed her a number of questions about the spread of Chikungunya. However no reply had been received by the time the newspaper went to print.
Chikungunya has left some of Rarotonga’s fittest athletes so ill they have been unable to train. The disease has hit people of all ages and has affected attendance at schools on the island.