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Epidemiology of Chikungunya fever outbreak in Western Jamaica during July–December 2014

Authors Pham PN, Williams LT, Obot U, Padilla LA, Aung M, Akinyemiju TF, Carson AP, Jolly PE

Received 10 September 2016

Accepted for publication 16 November 2016

Published 25 January 2017 Volume 2017:8 Pages 7—16


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Thomas Unnasch

Phuong N Pham,1 LaQueena T Williams,1 Uduak Obot,1 Luz A Padilla,1 Maung Aung,2 Tomi F Akinyemiju,1 April P Carson,1 Pauline E Jolly1

1Department of Epidemiology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, USA; 2Epidemiology Unit, Western Regional Health Authority, Ministry of Health, Montego Bay, Jamaica

Objective: Our study describes the 2014 Chikungunya outbreak in Western Jamaica in terms of geographic distribution and trend of the outbreak over time, and evaluates clinical symptoms of the disease based on pre-existing conditions.
Methods: We conducted a retrospective, cross-sectional study of 609 clinically defined ­Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) fever cases that occurred in the four parishes of the Western Regional Health Authority of Jamaica from July 2014 to December 2014. Cases were not confirmed by laboratory tests but met clinical and epidemiological criteria of CHIKV fever.
Results: Our results show a propagated spread of CHIKV fever during the outbreak period with the peak at the end of October. Main urban cities, such as Montego Bay and Lucea, were identified as places that had high numbers of cases. Fever and arthralgia were the two most common clinical symptoms in CHIKV patients. Although a majority (80%) of infants aged <2 years had up to four symptoms (80%), the percentage of infants with higher numbers of symptoms (9–10) was higher than in older age groups. However, back pain was found to occur significantly more in older patients. Those with arthritis as a pre-existing condition were more likely to experience headache, asthenia, back pain, and periarticular edema.
Conclusion: These findings can help public health officials develop more effective programs to prevent the spread of CHIKV outbreaks by focusing on crowded urban cities. The findings indicate that those who are likely to develop a higher number of symptoms, such as young infants and people with pre-existing conditions, such as arthritis, should be more closely monitored to better manage the disease outcome.

Keywords: Chikungunya, Aedes mosquitoes, symptoms, outbreak, Jamaica, preexisting conditions

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