Bajans urged to avoid no-vaccine CHIKV

The Ministry of Health is still awaiting the results of six remaining samples sent to Trinidad to be tested for chikungunya.

In the meantime, Barbadians have been urged to take responsibility for preventing infection, particularly as there is no vaccine against the mosquito-borne illness.

Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Elizabeth Ferdinand told reporters today at the Sir Winston Scott Polyclinic, during the presentation of equipments to that health care facility, that since one out of seven samples sent to the Trinidadian-based Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) tested positive for chikungunya earlier this month, people had been calling polyclinics to get vaccines to prevent infection.

But Ferdinand insisted that there was no such vaccine.

“Quite a few people are calling and they have the opinion that there is a vaccine, but we do not have any vaccine. I want to make it clear that Barbados does not have a vaccine, neither does the world have a vaccine for chikungunya,” she said.

The confirmation of the lone chikunya case was made by Minister of Health John Boyce on June 4, when he disclosed that the infected patient was a non-national who had since returned home.

Ferdinand said health officials are still awaiting the test results of the other six samples sent to CARPHA.

She said public health officials continue to undertake all corrective measures needed to get rid of breeding grounds for the Aedes Aegypti mosquito which spreads chikungunya, including fogging, as well as enhanced surveillance of ports of entry, collection and analysis of data from the various public healthcare facilities, education and other source reduction activities.

“People call all the time and the environmental health officers have been very busy going out into the community and trying to make sure that there is no breeding spots around because, you know, we have been hoping and praying that the rain will come soon but when that rain comes and you have containers that would catch water the eggs would hatch out, so we have to be careful that we clean up our yards and communities,” the senior health official said.

Today, Diagnostic Radiology Services, Consumer Guarantee Insurance and Barbados International Business Association combined efforts to donate two scales and two optical scopes to the polyclinic.

Dr Philomena Mohni Harris of the Radiology Services handed over the equipment and said it was a pleasure to carry out the good deed.

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