MONDAY, JUNE 18, 2018

Two chikungunya cases confirmed in St. Martin

Saint Martin Agence Regional de Sante Director-General Patrice Richard said on Dec. 6 that two cases of chikungunya viral infection have been confirmed.

Richard said the two cases stem from the French Quarter. There are four "probable" cases, which mean a diagnostic test has been completed that measures the likelihood that the virus was contracted. In addition, there are 30 "suspected" cases, 15 of which are located in the Oyster Pond area. This designation means the patients exhibit symptoms but have not been diagnosed with the infection, according to the Daily Herald.

ARS said there is no evidence the infection is on the Dutch side of the island.

Chikungunya is similar to dengue fever. Symptoms include fever, joint and muscle pain, exhaustion, headache, rash and in some cases, minor bleeding in the gums.

The infection is passed to humans through infected mosquitoes.

"Chikungunya is in the Pacific islands, in Asia, in India, but never until now in the Caribbean islands," Epidemiologist Marion Petit-Sinturel said, according to the Daily Herald. "It's the first time we have located transmission here in St. Martin."

ARS is awaiting further test results from the Marseille laboratory.

"We will be synchronizing efforts on all fronts with our French-side colleagues, and following similar protocols, treatment plans, action plans, prevention control, and communication," Dutch-side Minister of Public Health Cornelius de Weever said, Daily Herald reports. "I believe that only together can we fight this war and what may come in the future, but the groundwork has been done today and we look forward to working together."