Ministry of National Health Services-WHO Joint Statement on CHIKUNGUNYA

December 19, 2016

Islamabad, the 19th December, Ministry of National Health Services-WHO Joint Statement on CHIKUNGUNYA There have been unconfirmed reports of the presence of Chikungunya virus in Karachi, Sindh, especially in the areas of Malir.

The Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, Department of Health of the Sindh Province jointly with the World Health Organization   in   Pakistan   are   working   closely   in   the   wake   of   these unconfirmed   reports   and   carrying   out   epidemiological   investigations.

However, while the investigations continue, this is to clarify that no case of Chikungunya Virus  has   yet  been  confirmed  till   date  and   any  information circulated with regard to confirmation of any case is incorrect and misleading. It   is   of   paramount   importance   that   the   public   and   the   health   care providers be adequately informed about the risk associated with all illnesses of epidemic potential.

 In the case of Chikungunya, the following information must be conveyed: (1) Although there are serological evidence of a historical presence of thevirus  in Pakistan,  there is  at this  time no   evidence of  any nested transmission of Chikungunya in the country2) Imported   cases   can   always   appear   as   for   any   disease,   but   such importation,  once   early  detected,  would   not  cause   any  significant damage to public health3)

The Chikungunya virus pertains to the same family of viruses (these-called “arboviruses”) family, as dengue, but is known among the three for causing the least harm to health4) Being transmitted by the same mosquito (Aedes Aegypti) as Dengue,the measures  that  are already in  place   for controlling dengue  are identical to the ones that would be needed to control any surge of Chikungunya transmission.5)

 Epidemiological investigation supported by laboratory confirmations being under taken by the health authorities Equally critical, is to remind that an External Evaluation Mission of Experts   mandated   by   the   WHO   Regional   Committee   of   the   Eastern Mediterranean   Region   has   concluded,   in   a   recently   released   Report,   that Pakistan both at federal and provincial levels is well prepared to respond to any epidemic event.

The assessment has been conducted in all provinces and
has been technically reviewed the 19 areas of capacities required by International Health   Regulation   (IHR,   2005).   Pakistan   is   thus   in   conformity   with   IHR requirements. In the particular case of Chikungunya, the MNHSR&C and WHO PAK wish to highlight that diagnostic capacities exist within the National Institute of   Health   and   that   additional   testing   supplies   will   be   made   available   to eventually absorb any further testing demand.

 

 In conclusion, this statement is intended to restore proper messaging about current situation with regard to Chikungunya virus in Pakistan.  More advisory and technical information on the Chikungunya virus and appending   individual   and   collective   measure   are   available   at:   Ministry   of National   Health   Services,   Regulations   and   Coordination   website www.nhsrc.gov.pk       and   WHO   websitehttp://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs327/en/saji