SAN JUAN – The Caribbean Public Health Agency’s regional conference on the Chikungunya virus got under way on Tuesday in Port-of-Spain, capital of Trinidad and Tobago.
The agency, known as CARPHA, said via Twitter account that health officials from St. Martin, Mexico, Canada, the Cayman Islands and Martinique, among other countries, made presentations on Chikungunya cases in their countries and offered recommendations for the region.
“Our messages have not reached people as they should. We need to rethink our communications approach,” CARPHA executive director James Hospedales said.
The meeting, funded by the European Union, will seek to examine possible public-private partnerships to address the epidemic.
The Chikungunya virus was first detected in the Western Hemisphere in 2013. Since then, authorities have logged more than 800,000 suspected cases in the Caribbean and Latin America.
Chikungunya is transmitted through the bite of the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes, which also carry viruses such as dengue, yellow fever and Zika.
The most common symptoms include fever, severe joint pain, headache and rash, which may be aggravated with vomiting and diarrhea.
CARPHA is comprised of Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bermuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Curaçao, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Martin, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos and the British Virgin Islands.