Date: Tue 22 Aug 2017, 11:43 PM
Source: SFR France-Antilles [in French, trans. ProMED Corr.SB, edited]

For the 1st time since 1998, a case of yellow fever has been confirmed in Guiana. It is a woman who stayed in the forest towards Saint-Élie and Oiapoque, in the border area with Brazil. The Institute Pasteur of Guiana yesterday [Mon 21 Aug 2017] confirmed yellow fever virus infection in Guiana, for the 1st time since 1998.

The infected person died on [9 Aug 2017]. She could have been infected in the border area of Oiapoque in Brazil, according to the initial investigations of the ARS (Agence Regional de Sante; regional health agency). She had been in the forest near St Elie and in the Oyapock Valley. The mosquito control department of the CTG [Collectivite Territoriale de Guyane -- official name of French Guiana] began its mosquito control operations around the identified places of transit of the deceased patient: the Cayenne hospital centre, the Kourou medical and surgical centre; the surrounding forest of Saint-Élie; degradation of Petit Saut; the lower Oyapock.

The ARS recommends that unvaccinated people who present with symptoms and who have visited the area since [15 Aug 2017] should consult their doctor without delay. Unvaccinated people can be vaccinated at most general practitioners and at the following centres: - CPS of the Red Cross, - traveller centre or CDPS of the Centre Hospitalier de Cayenne, - PMI centres of the CTG.

The ARS reminds all that vaccination is the main prevention measure against yellow fever.

Transmission to humans, symptoms and treatments:
Yellow fever is an acute viral disease transmissible from animal (monkey) to man and man to man by various mosquitoes (genus _Aedes_, but also other genera circulating in the forest). The yellow fever virus is transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito. After an incubation period of about one week, the disease is characterized by fever, chills, muscle pain, headache, nausea, vomiting.

Severe forms (haemorrhage, liver disorders, kidney problems) can develop in 15 per cent of cases. Vaccination is the main prevention measure against yellow fever. The vaccine is safe, and very effective, a single dose is usually enough to give lasting immunity and lifetime protection against the disease. In 30 days, it gives an effective immune protection to 99 per cent of vaccinated subjects.

In case of yellow fever, symptomatic treatment may be proposed (rehydration, antipyretic medicines to limit fever, vomiting and pain, antibiotics for superinfections). -- communicated by: ProMED-mail from HealthMap Alerts <> [It is hard to know if this case is related to this year's (2017) yellow fever (YF) outbreak in Brazil.

The Brazilian state of Amapa borders French Guiana, but there have been no reported YF cases in humans or in non-human primates in the state. However, French Guiana is endemic for YF and the area where the woman was infected is forested and is likely to have foci of sylvan (forest) YF. Yellow fever was detected in 1951 in French Guiana and YF immunization has been compulsory there since 1967.

In the year 2000, a cluster survey showed that immunization coverage in the population was estimated at 80-90 per cent, depending on the age category <>. The last case of autochthonous YF notified in Guiana before the one cited above occurred in 1998 in a town on the border with Surinam.

Since then, the compulsory notification system built around all health care structures and a reference laboratory at Cayenne's Pasteur Institute have received no notification of Yellow fever cases until now. Health authorities in French Guiana are wise to emphasize vaccination as the best preventive measure against YF. One hopes that this is an isolated case, and not an indication of ongoing YF virus transmission in the country or in neighbouring Amapa state in Brazil.

A map of French Guiana can be accessed at
<> and a maps of Brazil
at <> and <>. - ProMED Mod.TY]

[A HealthMap/ProMED-mail map can be accessed at: <>.]
Date: Fri 2 Dec 2016
Source: Stabroek News [edited]
There has been a total of 104 confirmed cases of chickenpox at the Paramakatoi Secondary School's Dormitory in Region 8 [Potaro-Siparuni Region, Guyana], a health team dispatched to the area has reported.

The Ministry of Public Health announced an outbreak in the area last week and Public Health Minister Dr George Norton had said there were 160 reported cases of persons having been infected over a 1-week period.

In light of the outbreak, a team from the ministry, including Junior Minister Karen Cummings, was expected to travel to the area to gather more information, while medical and environmental teams were working to prevent the spread of the virus and treat all infected children.

Stabroek News has since been informed that the team has been able to confirm 104 of the previously stated 160 cases.

This newspaper was told that the reason for the remaining 56 cases not being confirmed was as a result of the students not having visited the health centre in the area as the others would have done.

Stabroek News was also told that a total of 900 varicella vaccines were given to the community for preventative treatment against the spread of the virus among the population in Paramakatoi.

Additionally, the environmental team has since advised that a section of the dorm be utilized as a quarantine area for affected students.

It was also noted that health officials in the area have been instructed to be on alert for any new cases that may occur.

Varicella, commonly known as chickenpox, is a disease that is caused by the varicella-zoster virus. Patients develop a blister-like rash or boil, which 1st appears on the face and trunk, and then spreads throughout the body, including inside the mouth, eyelids and in the genital area.

The virus is airborne and can be spread mainly through tiny droplets from infected persons when they breathe, talk, cough or sneeze. Symptoms include the presence of a rash that turns into itchy, fluid-filled blisters that eventually turn into scabs, mild to moderate fever, tiredness, loss of appetite and headaches.

Though not common, chickenpox can also lead to serious issues, such as skin infections, dehydration, pneumonia and swelling of the brain.

According to a Public Health Ministry statement, chickenpox has an incubation period of between 10 and 21 days, meaning the rash will appear from 10 to 21 days after the virus has infected the patient. However, it said an infected person is contagious about 2 days before the rash appears, and then continues being contagious for another 4 to 5 days until all the blisters have formed scabs.

Treatment of the virus, the ministry noted, includes the use of non-aspirin medications, such as acetaminophen, to relieve fever from chickenpox, calamine lotion, which may help prevent itching and irritation of the skin, as well as the administering of antiviral medications in specific cases.

However, the chickenpox vaccine is considered the best way to prevent the contraction of chickenpox. Children, adolescents, and adults, it is recommended, should get 2 doses of the vaccine, which is considered very safe and effective at preventing the disease.

Most people who get the vaccine will not get chickenpox. If a vaccinated person does get chickenpox, it is usually mild -- with fewer red spots or boils and mild or no fever. The chickenpox vaccine prevents almost all cases of severe disease.

In cases where vaccination is not possible, the ministry said preventative measures must be taken from coming into contact with droplets of saliva and the blisters of an infected person.

This includes hand washing, protection when sneezing and coughing, and not sharing utensils.
[In April 2016, the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) began a cross country campaign in Guyana and elsewhere targeting defaulters and hard to reach populations as part of World Vaccine week, with a special focus on remote regions in the hinterland and the engagement of schools. This is one of the most successful public health programmes in Guyana, with vaccination coverage of over 90 percent of all antigens given to the under-5 population, according to the Ministry of Public Health, Guyana. But while Guyana was awarded 3rd place out of 75 countries for effective vaccine management in 2014, it has not been without its challenges, particularly due to Guyana's unique terrain.

The country has a very unique terrain which contributes greatly to the challenges of the vaccination programme, from the many rivers to the mountains. In addition, the vaccines require maintenance of a cold chain.

The EPI programme currently administers vaccines for 17 antigens: whooping cough, measles, poliomyelitis, tuberculosis, yellow fever, diphtheria, tetanus, mumps, rubella, haemophilus influenza type B, pneumococcal, meningococcal, human papilloma virus, varicella, rotavirus and pertussis. - excerpted from <>

More than 100 cases in a 1-week period is concerning. One hopes the 900 doses of vaccine will stop transmission. Two doses of the vaccine are about 90 percent effective at preventing chickenpox. As stated in the report, when vaccinated individuals get chickenpox in spite of having been vaccinated, the disease is usually milder with fewer blisters and little or no fever.

A map of Guyana may be found at <>. - ProMED Mod.LK]
Date: Tue 26 May 2015
Source: Stabroek News [edited]
Chief Medical Officer Shamdeo Persaud said yesterday that the Ministry of Public Health is on the alert for the Zika virus -- a mosquito-borne [pathogen] which is transmitted by the same vector that carries the dengue and the chikungunya viruses.
Date: Mon, 19 May 2014 00:46:59 +0200 (METDST)
by Denis Chabrol

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, May 18, 2014 (AFP) - Thousands of indigenous people near Guyana's border with Brazil are battling drought so persistent they fear crop failure and hunger.   Shirley Melville, a former legislator in Lethem, said Sunday that her family's well and many more in the town near northern Brazil have dried up because there has been no rainfall for at least seven months.   "This is the first time in 40 years that my well has dried up. I even dug another one -- and that, too, is dry," she told AFP.

A council was this week to assess the water shortage in the township where residents rely on Brazil for drinking water because Guyana's state-owned water company supplies poor quality treated water.   Guyana, a former British colony just east of Venezuela, lies on South America's northeastern shoulder.   Its population of about 735,000 includes mostly descendants of Indian indentured workers and blacks, but also many indigenous people near the Brazilian border.
   - Wells dry -  
Residents of other parts of the sprawling Rupununi region, predominantly populated by indigenous people, said their mainstay cassava (manioc) farms have dried up -- scorched by the hot sun. And planting vegetables is impossible in those conditions.   Annai village community activist Virgil Harding said most wells in his 16 other communities in North Rupununi have also gone dry.

Residents all have to go to the Rupununi River for untreated water for domestic use, he said. And in time of drought, river volumes may be lower and have higher concentrations of particles.   The top indigenous affairs authority said the government was aware of the situation and working on contingency plans.   Amerindian Affairs Chief Administrator Nigel Dharamlall said in an interview that the government was prepared to rush emergency supplies of food to cope with a potentially devastating drought, as well as planting materials when it does finally rain.
   - Watch for shortages -  
"If there are shortages, the government will provide supplies as we have done before and when the time comes, we will provide planting materials as soon as the rain comes," Dharamlall said.   Forecasters are blaming the drought on the El Nino weather phenomenon, when warmer than usual water stretches across the surface of eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean, about every three to seven years.

The warmer water influences climate patterns in many places around the world.     The Agriculture Ministry has set up a special task force on the on-going impact of El Nino.    "The Ministry of Agriculture has established a Special El Nino Working group to monitor and plan actions to reduce any adverse impact of a possible El Nino on agriculture production," it said.   Experts say climate change could cause the intensity of El Nino phenomena to be stronger than in the past. Research is still ongoing.   Guyana last experienced a major drought in 1998, when a state of emergency was declared because of widespread devastation to agriculture and mining.
Date: Sat 9 Mar 2013
Source: The Windsor Star [edited]

Guyana's health ministry says 3 children have died and dozens of people are receiving treatment due to a gastroenteritis outbreak in the South American country.

Chief medical officer Shamdeo Persaud says medical teams are being rushed to a gold-mining community in a north west region bordering Venezuela. He said on Saturday [9 Mar 2013] that laboratory tests show elevated levels of _Escherichia coli_ bacteria and that several people have been hospitalized.

The ministry has distributed water treatment tablets and noted that rivers and creeks in the remote jungle community are polluted with sewage blamed on an increased number of miners.
[Maps of Guyana can be seen at
<> and
<>. - ProMed Sr.Tech.Ed.MJ]
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