CARPHA Urges Member States to Continue Surveillance for Dengue, Chikungunya and Zika

CARPHA Urges Member States to Continue Surveillance for Dengue, Chikungunya and Zika
Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. 24 January, 2023. The Caribbean Public Health Agency
(CARPHA) is reminding the public that arboviral diseases such as dengue, chikungunya and Zika are
still circulating in the Caribbean region. In light of this, CARPHA emphasizes the importance of
prevention and control measures to reduce the transmission of these viruses.
Executive Director, Dr. Joy St. John gave the assurance that CARPHA remains committed to

strengthening public health systems for early detection and response to the emergence, re-
emergence, and spread of arboviral infections. She said, “The CARPHA Medical Microbiology

Laboratory (CMML) has the capacity and remains ready to test and provide diagnostic confirmation
of suspected cases in the Region”. However, she stated, “Member States must maintain a strategic
approach to surveillance and sample collection and submission to increase our chances of early
identification of infections”. At the same time, Dr. St. John is also encouraging persons to eliminate
potential mosquito breeding sites in and around their homes.
Given the increase in regional and international travel to the Caribbean and the presence of the
Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which are endemic to this Region and transmit dengue, chikungunya and
Zika, CARPHA is urging its Member States to strengthen routine surveillance for undifferentiated
fever in their communities.
CARPHA said it is also critical for Ministries of Health to continue public education campaigns to
remind people of the importance of keeping their surroundings free of mosquito breeding sites and
avoiding mosquito bites. This involves keeping water drums and barrels tightly covered, and
throwing out stagnant water from flower vases, old tyres, and other containers.
Dengue, chikungunya and Zika are associated with moderate to severe health consequences, with
young children and/or older age groups at higher risk. Symptoms of Zika include rash, fever, muscle
and joint pain, and conjunctivitis. Zika has been confirmed as a cause of congenital abnormalities

in neonates of women infected with Zika virus during pregnancy and is also a trigger of Guillain-
Barré Syndrome. Symptoms of dengue include rash, fever, muscle and joint pain, and nausea, while

chikungunya may cause similar symptoms with muscle and joint pain persisting for an extended