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Expat Exchange - Chikungunya Disease in Dominica
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Scotts Head, Dominica


Chikungunya Disease in Dominica

By Joshua Wood, LPC

SJB Global
SJB Global

Summary: If you're a moving to Dominica or recently arrived, it's important to know about Chikungunya Disease, which is transmitted by mosquitoes. Chikungunya is sometimes misdiagnosed as Zika Virus. Unfortunately, many report long-term joint pain following the initial illness.

If you've recently moved to Dominica or are planning to, it's essential to be aware of Chikungunya Disease, spread by mosquitoes. This illness is frequently confused with the Zika Virus, and many suffer from persistent joint pain after recovering from the initial symptoms.

Chikungunya virus is a mosquito-borne disease that has been a significant health concern in many parts of the world, including the Caribbean island of Dominica. This article will delve into the specifics of the Chikungunya virus, its prevalence in Dominica, and the measures that can be taken to prevent and manage the disease, particularly for expatriates living in the region.

What is Chikungunya Disease?

Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes, specifically the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus species. The symptoms typically begin 3–7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. The most common symptoms include fever and severe joint pain, often in the hands and feet. Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash. Most patients feel better within a week, but in some cases, the joint pain may persist for months or even years. Long-term effects can include chronic joint pain and eye, neurological, heart, and gastrointestinal complications.

Where is Chikungunya Most Prevalent in Dominica?

Chikungunya was first identified in Dominica in 2014 and quickly spread across the island. The disease is most prevalent in areas with high mosquito populations, particularly in urban and semi-urban areas where the Aedes aegypti mosquito thrives. This includes the capital city of Roseau and other densely populated areas. However, the virus can be found throughout the island, and cases have been reported in rural areas as well.

How do Expats in Dominica Prevent Mosquito Bites?

Preventing mosquito bites is the most effective way to avoid Chikungunya. Expatriates in Dominica are advised to use insect repellent, wear long sleeves and pants, and ensure their living and working spaces are well-screened or air-conditioned. It's also important to eliminate mosquito breeding sites by regularly emptying, covering, or treating any items that hold water, such as flower pots, tires, or buckets. The use of bed nets is also recommended, particularly for those who sleep during the day when the Aedes mosquito is most active.

What if I get Chikungunya Virus in Dominica?

If you suspect you have contracted the Chikungunya virus in Dominica, it's important to seek medical attention immediately. While there is no specific antiviral drug treatment for Chikungunya, supportive care can help manage symptoms. This includes rest, hydration, and the use of over-the-counter pain relievers to reduce fever and alleviate joint pain. It's also crucial to avoid mosquito bites to prevent further spread of the virus.

Is Chikungunya Virus Contagious?

Chikungunya virus is not directly contagious from person to person. The virus is primarily transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. However, a mosquito can pick up the virus from an infected person and then spread it to others, which is why it's important for infected individuals to avoid mosquito bites.

Is Chikungunya Virus More Dangerous for Children, the Elderly, or Immune-Compromised Individuals?

While Chikungunya can affect individuals of all ages, severe cases are more likely to occur in infants, the elderly, and those with underlying health conditions. These individuals are at a higher risk of developing complications such as severe joint pain, eye and neurological disorders, heart complications, and even death. Therefore, it's particularly important for these high-risk groups to take preventive measures against mosquito bites and seek immediate medical attention if they develop symptoms of Chikungunya.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.


SJB Global
SJB Global

SJB Global
SJB Global

Scotts Head, Dominica

SJB Global
SJB Global

SJB Global is a top-rated financial advisory firm specializing in expat financial advice worldwide, offering retirement planning & tax-efficient solutions with a regressive fee model.
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SJB GlobalSJB Global

SJB Global is a top-rated financial advisory firm specializing in expat financial advice worldwide, offering retirement planning & tax-efficient solutions with a regressive fee model.
Learn More

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