Not chikungunya, say Costa Rica health officials
Two patients were discharged this week from local hospitals after the Health Ministry said lab tests for the chikungunya virus were negative.
The first patient, a 3-year-old boy, was admitted last Tuesday to Ciudad Neily Hospital in the southern Pacific region. Roberto Castro, director of the Health Ministry’s monitoring unit, said blood samples from the child tested negative for the virus.
Parents of the child, from the Dominican Republic and Panama, had visited the Caribbean island nation last May. The Dominican Republic is among countries with the most reported cases of chikungunya in the region, according to the Pan American Health Organization.
Tests from a second patient, a 60-year-old Costa Rican man, also were negative. He was admitted at the San Juan de Dios Hospital in the capital last Thursday.
Blood sample analysis was conducted at the Gorgas Institute for Health Studies in Panama. But Castro said that as of last Friday, the Health Ministry now has the capability to conduct lab testing for chikungunya in Costa Rica. Tests take up to 72 hours for results, he said.
Chikungunya causes similar symptoms to the dengue virus, including high fever, rashes and severe joint pain. It is transmitted by two mosquitoes: the Aedes aegypti – which also carries dengue – and Aedes albopictus. Both types are found in Costa Rica.
Chikungunya symptoms, however, last longer than dengue symptoms, and the virus causes chronic arthritis in 5 percent of patients.
Castro said that as of Monday, no other suspected cases of the virus exist here, but health officials will remain alert because chikungunya has been found in Panama.
You may be interested
Mexico opens border to women and children from migrant caravanAFP - October 20, 2018
Mexican authorities on Saturday allowed dozens of women and children from the Honduran migrant caravan to pass into its territory,…
Venezuela accuses Costa Rica of ‘subordination’ to U.S.AFP - October 20, 2018
Venezuela criticized Costa Rica this week for expressing support for several countries that have asked the International Criminal Court (ICC)…
Lifeguards call for help in Costa Rica: support their work in OsaPerry Gladstone - October 20, 2018
Over the last four years, the Lifeguards of Costa Ballena have performed 240 in-water rescues, administered first aid 100 times…