KINGSTON, April 7 (Xinhua) -- Jamaica's health minister called for collaborative efforts in the Caribbean to fight Chikungunya, a viral disease with no known cure, at Monday's launch of World Health Day.
Fenton Ferguson suggested nongovernmental organizations and the private sector be included in the efforts to fight the disease. This year's World Health Day topic is vector-borne diseases, with the theme of "small bite, big threat."
Chikungunya, a viral disease transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes, was first reported in the Caribbean islands last December. The disease often occurs in Africa, Asia, India and the Pacific islands, and in recent decades its mosquito vectors have spread to Europe and the Americas.
A report on the Chikungunya epidemic in the Caribbean updated on March 14 by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control shows 3,366 confirmed or probable cases, along with 17,896 suspected cases.
The World Health Organization's website says there is no cure for the disease and treatment is focused on relieving the symptoms.
Chikungunya usually has a three-to-seven-day incubation period and can cause acute, sub-acute and chronic illness.
The symptoms, including high fever, headache, muscle pain, joint pains, nausea, fatigue and rash, generally recede in seven to 10 days, but joint pains and stiffness may last for months or years, and can become a source of chronic pain and disability.