Sunday, February 18, 2018

Khan: Thermal cameras may be installed to detect diseases


‘Prevention better than cure’: Dr Fuad Khan

Mark Fraser

HEALTH Minister Dr Fuad Khan says he wants to install thermal imaging cameras at all points of entry in the country so viruses can be detected when a person walks by.

However, he said, there was  a tendering process that has to take place before such devices can be installed.

Thermal imaging cameras can  detect body heat and changes in temperature in a particular place.

The new initiative comes after three persons have been confirmed with Chikungunya virus, commonly known as CHIKV.

The minister said there were reports that a fourth person was diagnosed with the virus, but confirmation was needed. He said four cases were “not much” and there was no need to panic.

Earlier this week, Dr James Hospedales, executive director of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), confirmed the reports of the CHIKV cases.

Chikungunya is a viral disease which is spread by the  aedes aegypti mosquito,  also the carrier of  dengue fever.

 Symptoms include sudden high fever, severe pain in the wrists, ankles, knuckles, muscle pain, headache, nausea and rash. Joint pain and stiffness are more common with chikungunya than with dengue. 

Khan, speaking to the media following a tour of the eye/ENT outpatient clinic at San Fernando General Hospital on Wednesday, again called on citizens to keep their surroundings clean as a preventative measure. 

 “Once there is no breeding ground for the mosquito, the mosquito will die. Prevention is better than cure,” he said.

Khan also asked that persons monitor their neighbour’s surroundings.

Dr Debra Batholomew, acting registrar at Port of Spain General Hospital, said the public should not forget that dengue fever was also prevalent during the rainy season.

 She said surroundings should be properly maintained  to prevent any disease caused by the dreaded mosquito.

Hospedales said 26 countries in the Caribbean region have reported cases of Chikungunya since it entered in December last year, including Haiti, Dominican Republic, Guyana, Suriname and Venezuela.