JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, is appealing to medical practitioners in private practice to report all suspected cases of Chikungunya (CHIKV) to the Ministry.
  • Dr. Ferguson made the appeal at a JIS Think Tank on Wednesday (September 24), where he said that many private doctors were not reporting the suspected cases, which is posing a challenge to the Ministry’s records.
  • The Health Minister said the Ministry can only report the confirmed cases from the laboratory and the suspected cases, based on notifications from doctors on the required reporting forms.

Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, is appealing to medical practitioners in private practice to report all suspected cases of Chikungunya (CHIKV) to the Ministry.

Dr. Ferguson made the appeal at a JIS Think Tank on Wednesday (September 24), where he said that many private doctors were not reporting the suspected cases, which is posing a challenge to the Ministry’s records.

“Part of the issue that the Ministry has is that a lot of persons are going to private doctors, they are being seen, they are suspected of having CHIKV but that information does not reach the Ministry of Health, so there is a gap in the number of suspected cases,” he said.

The Health Minister said the Ministry can only report the confirmed cases from the laboratory and the suspected cases, based on notifications from doctors on the required reporting forms. “I know that a number of doctors with big practices may not have the time to fill out these documents, therefore, what we’re asking for as a minimum, is just to report suspected cases,” he emphasised.

The Minister pointed out that while Chikungunya is not a new disease, it is new to the region. The first cases in the Americas were detected in December 2013 and the disease first surfaced in Jamaica in July of this year, when two imported cases were reported.

Dr. Ferguson outlined the situation in Dominica, which has a population of approximately 73,000 where there have been 3, 559 suspected cases and 141 confirmed.  He said the Dominican Republic, which has a population of ten million has 486,306 suspected cases and 84 confirmed; while the United States Virgin Islands, which has a population of 105,000, has reported 562 suspected cases and 44 confirmed.

 

Jamaica, with a population of almost three million, has 352 suspected cases and 31 confirmed, which he said, suggests a gap in reporting.

Minister Ferguson pointed out that not all cases are being tested, noting that in some countries, there is a testing ratio of one in 10 or one in 20.

The Minister added that the World Health Organization (WHO)/Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Protocol does not require testing for all persons.

He explained that if one person in a household has been confirmed with CHIKV and other members of the home display similar symptoms, the epidemiological link would suggest a likelihood that the others have the virus.