Chikungunya numbers hit zero

Wednesday September 16, 2015 Written by Published in Health
Director of Community Services Neti Herman (left) and health protection manager Tangata Vaeau pictured earlier this year when eff orts to eradicate mosquito-breeding places via the Tutaka programme were in full swing. Director of Community Services Neti Herman (left) and health protection manager Tangata Vaeau pictured earlier this year when eff orts to eradicate mosquito-breeding places via the Tutaka programme were in full swing.

The Chikungunya outbreak which swept through the nation has finally come to a standstill, with only one case reported in the last fortnight.

 

The mosquito-borne disease was first reported in October last year, and infected an estimated 781 people.

No deaths were reported in the Cook Islands as a result of the debilitating illness, which took two lives in America Samoa earlier this year.

The Ministry of Health has seen a reduction in the number of new cases of Chikungunya every week for the last 12 weeks. There has been a continuous decline in the number of cases with only one in the week ending August 16, and zero as of today.

Surveillance of infection transmission is being monitored by the health protection team to ensure that this zero status is maintained.

Public Health director Neti Herman, says the downward trend has been due to the intense collaboration by the Public Health team, the hospital, stakeholder groups and the community.

She says the decline is down to their efforts in identifying and cleaning mosquito breeding areas around properties and the surrounding environment.

However, although no new cases have been reported, the Ministry of Health is urging the public to continue taking preventative measures.

One important measure is the active destruction of mosquito breeding and “resting” places, as well as using personal protection measures such as insect repellents.

With a dengue outbreak still spreading throughout the Pacific Region, especially in American Samoa, Samoa and French Polynesia, the public health team will continue to undertake surveillance, awareness raising and monitoring of the situation.

“We would also like to advise all people travelling within the Pacific region to take extra precautionary measures,” Herman says.

The distribution of information pamphlets in communities will continue and the pamphlets are also available at the airport for all visitors.

Most people infected with the Chikungunya virus develop some symptoms, which usually begin three to seven days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.

The most common symptoms are fever and joint pain, and other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash. The disease can affect victims for several months or longer.

The virus is spread to humans by the bite of an infected female Aedes species mosquito – Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus.

These are the same tropical and sub-tropical mosquitoes that carry the dengue virus.

They breed in or near human habitation and prefer to feed on humans during the daytime in shady areas, but may also bite early in the night. 

1 comment

  • Comment Link Prof. Dr. Prinz, Wuppertal, Germany Saturday, 17 October 2015 20:24 posted by Prof. Dr. Prinz, Wuppertal, Germany

    Hello, we are planning to come over to the COOK islands next year, but we were still afraid of infections. Several of my friends travelling to Tahiti (and also Bali) were infected with chikunguya or dengue (in Bali); what is the current situation ? Infection risks now seem to detain a lot of Europeans to travel although flight connections have improved significantly.

    Christian Prinz

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