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Health officials in St Lucia have confirmed the first case of the Chikungunya virus here.

A statement from the Ministry of Health indicates that Chikungunia is a mosquito borne disease transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the same vector of dengue fever.

People infected with the virus present symptoms after three to seven days following exposure. These symptoms include fever, headache, nausea and vomiting. A distinguishing symptom of the virus is severe pain to the joints of the hands and feet which can be debilitating.

This virus has been on the increase in the French Caribbean from 2013. Given the trends of the inter-island travel between Saint Lucia and these territories the Ministry of Health has assumed a proactive stance, in anticipation of this eventuality.

Active surveillance of the disease commenced from early 2014 and the preventative efforts focused on intensifying source reduction effort and treating of breeding sites.

The public is asked to partner with the Ministry of Health in controlling the potential increase of this disease by eliminating viable sites for the breeding of mosquitoes.
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