Jamaica’s Ministry of Health confirmed on Friday that all parishes are now being affected by the Chikungunya virus, with increasing numbers being recorded in the western part of the island.
There has been a significant decline in new cases in eastern parishes, including St. Thomas, Kingston and St. Andrew as well as St. Catherine, the Ministry reported.
In the meantime, the Health Ministry is advising persons recovering from Chik-V that joint pains can persist for months.
Dr. Kevin Harvey, acting Permanent Secretary, cautioned that while most infections completely resolve within weeks or months, there have been documented cases of Chik V-induced joint pains persisting for several years. He said, for most persons, symptoms resolve in one to three weeks. However, some patients might have relapse of joint related symptoms in the months following the illness. He is recommending mild exercise to assist with easing joint pain.
Dr. Harvey is suggesting that persons with more severe joint pains get physiotherapy. He reiterated that paracetamol acetaminophen are the initial drugs of choice, until other illnesses like dengue, are ruled out.
Stronger pain medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and opioids such as those containing codeine can be used during relapse or prolonged pain, he added.
Dr. Harvey is cautioning, however, that aspirin should still be avoided.