Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 11th 2014 Contents ANNA-LISA PAUL
The Caribbean Public Health Agency
(CARPHA), which is mandated to test and con-
firm the instances of chikungunya virus
throughout the region, has reportedly stopped
testing, owing to the overwhelming number of
cases in T&T.
The chairman of the Diego Martin Regional
Corporation (DMRC), Darryl Smith, says 34 cases
have so far been confirmed in Diego Martin,
while six cases were confirmed in Belmont several
Smith has warned that there are "many other
suspected cases with people displaying similar
symptoms" in Diego Martin.
The majority have been reported in the Covigne,
Rich Plain and Bagatelle areas.
CARPHA's regional map on its Web site shows
only five confirmed cases in T&T.
The principal medical and public health officer
attached to the corporation, Dr Anthony Chang
Kit, said information from the Health Ministry
revealed that "CARPHA has stopped testing for
the chikungunya virus and dengue fever because
there are so many cases in this country."
He added: "Once you have high fever, rash and
joint pains, you are assumed to have chikungunya
until told otherwise. There are many more cases
than the 34 already confirmed.
"In my private practice, up to yesterday (Tues-
day), I saw six cases of clinical chikungunya and
the cases are mounting every day."
Meanwhile, Chang Kit said collaborative efforts
with the Insect Vector Control Division had
proven useful as source-reduction exercises and
fogging operations continued throughout the
He was addressing reporters during a press
conference at the corporation's office at North
Post Road, Diego Martin, yesterday,
The exact number of chikungunya cases in the
country could not be ascertained yesterday as
Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan and Chief Medical
Officer Dr Colin Furlonge were unreachable.
Text messages remained unanswered while
calls to their cellphones were directed to voice-
CARPHA director Dr James Hospedales was
also said to be busy and messages were not
But CARPHA is expected to host a press con-
ference today to update the public on the region's
preparedness for the Ebola virus.
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, September 11, 2014
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for SEPTEMBER 10TH, 2014
In an unprecedented move yesterday
Port-of-Spain mayor Raymond Tim
Kee, the councillor for the Belmont area,
a city health inspector and other mem-
bers of the City Corporation visited
vacant private lots in Belmont to ensure
the areas were clean to help eradicate
the breeding grounds of the aedes
aegypti mosquitoes that can spread
dengue fever and the chikungunya
The mayor said there were 38 cases
of chikungunya in the country but this
figure could not be confirmed.
He said the City Corporation intended
to clean some 178 private vacant lots in
eastern Port-of-Spain as well as the other
458 lots in the entire city and bill the
owners for the work done.
The councillor for the area Farai Hove
Masaisai said owners of these private
vacant lots were sent warning letters to
clean up their lots but this was not done.
He pointed to derelict vehicles, uncut
grass and garbage as the breeding grounds
for the mosquitoes that cause the virus.
He said that was the second phase of
the eradication exercise that started with
the spaying of the area.
Mitra Sooklal, a Port-of-Spain City
Corporation Health Inspector, said that
was part of the on-going campaign of
Insect Vector Control that started in mid-
August and involved not only "chemical
control" but also public announcements
cases in Diego
Seeking to assure residents of Diego Martin
that the corporation was taking proactive
steps to stem the further spread of the virus,
Smith said it had recently bought two hand-
held spraying machines for $14,000 and was
acquiring a truck-mounted machine.
Referring to the Health Ministry's
announcement last week that it was having
problems with its spraying unit and equipment,
Smith said while spraying for mosquitoes was
not the responsibility of the corporation, it was
prepared to take whatever measures were
necessary to protect the people of the area.
Urging residents to be aware that spraying
alone was not the answer, Smith appealed to
home-owners, businesses, tenants and others
to embark on a clean-up campaign to rid their
surroundings of anything that could be a
possible breeding site for mosquitoes.
Unveiling the public education blitz which
the corporation had rolled out, Smith said in
addition to town meetings, the corporation
• Put advertising tips on every electronic
billboard in the area.
• Advised residents, via a mike system daily,
on steps they could take to protect
• Printed and distributed flyers on the
symptoms and medical care necessary.
• Updated social media sites.
• Launched an education caravan which will
visit different communities weekly.
• Bought the mosquito cream odomos along
with bed nets for distribution to both
young and elderly residents.
Adding that many of the nets were donated
by the Office of Disaster Preparedness and
Management, Smith said corporation staff
were also being looked after as it was
important to ensure their safety, while they
helped to stop the virus from spreading.
Staff had been instructed to wear long-
sleeved shirts and long pants to work, to
minimise the chance of being bitten by
mosquitoes while on the job, he added.
The corporation's disaster and emergency
response units have also been put on standby,
while efforts are being made to set up a hotline
for people to call in concerning the virus.
Smith said more than 60 workers from
various departments had been deployed to
clean and clear drains and discussions were
continuing to bring in additional workers to
assist with cleaning empty lots and abandoned
Efforts are also being made to spray schools
in the area on an afternoon to reduce the
threat to students.
Stressing that the corporation was not
assuming the ministry's responsibility, Smith
questioned if his constituency was being
sidelined because of their political affiliation
with the Opposition Peoples National
"I am not saying they have not done work,
they have been spraying but we want more,"
Mayor tackles vacant
lots in Belmont
Williams uses a
weed wacker to
cut an abandoned
lot of land at the
corner of Belmont
Circular Road and
as the corporation
vacant lots in the
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