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Fourth case of Chikungunya? Health Minister not sure

By Richardson Dhalai Thursday, July 17 2014

click on pic to zoom in
HEALTH MINISTER SPEAKS: Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan spoke yesterday at the San Fernando General Hospital as Dr Lackram Bodoe, Chairman of the SWRHA l...
HEALTH MINISTER SPEAKS: Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan spoke yesterday at the San Fernando General Hospital as Dr Lackram Bodoe, Chairman of the SWRHA l...

Health Minister, Dr Fuad Khan, yesterday was unable to confirm whether the nation had recorded its fourth case of the Chikungunya virus.

He however once again urged the population to take preventative measures to control the spread of the disease by eradicating possible breeding areas for the Aedes aegypti mosquito.

Speaking to reporters following a tour of the National Eye Survey of T&T, (NESTT), facilities at the San Fernando General Hospital yesterday, Khan, asked whether a fourth person had been diagnosed with the mosquito borne disease, said he too had heard the rumour, and was attempting to confirm the report.

“It has not been confirmed, but I heard that myself, I am trying to confirm it, so I don’t want to panic the population,” Khan said, before noting, “I think they are panicked already, so they might as well take precautions.”

“There is most likely a fourth case,” he added.

Asked his advice to citizens, he said, “same advice, prevention is better than cure. Clean your surroundings, make sure you have no breeding grounds, look at your house, make sure it is clean with no breeding grounds, also peep at your neighbour’s own and help them out too. That’s the best thing to do.” Khan also noted that he was exploring the concept of having thermal cameras which are able to detect persons who may be entering the country with high fevers.

Addressing the issue of eye health, Khan implored those citizens who had been selected to participate in the national survey to take advantage of the opportunity.

He noted the Ministry of Health’s bill for eye surgeries and other eye-related measures was approximately $600,000 every two months. “The ministry spends approximately $600,000 every two months to fix people’s eyes,” he said. “The whole idea behind this study, Trinidad and Tobago has a high incidence of cardiovascular as well as diabetic population, and a lot of studies are looking at why, is it a genetic disorder, is it an environmental disorder, what type of disorder is this,” Khan said.

He said Professor Rupert Borne of Anglia Ruskin university, UK, had instituted the study together with the Ministry of Health, and was looking at the diseases of the eye by using a population sample which would not only correlate with the total population but be used to “determine the genetic nature of these people if it correlates with any gene on the actual chromosome with an eye disease.”

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