SKN and USVI monitor rise in cases of respiratory diseases

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The Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) recently asked member states to remain vigilant and keep a close eye on the rising tide of respiratory diseases in the region. In response to this, the US Virgin Islands and St Kitts and Nevis have continued their surveillance of such diseases, maintaining systems that were put in place following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Seasonal Viruses and COVID-19 in the US Virgin Islands

The rise of seasonal viruses and cases of COVID-19 in the US Virgin Islands has forced the government to take preventive measures against the spread of diseases while asking citizens to take precautionary measures and seek medical help in case they start displaying symptoms.

The government has also stated that the rise in cases of flu infections and COVID-19 can be attributed to the influx of tourists and visitors to the US Virgin Islands during the holiday season.

The acting Health Commissioner, Reuben Molloy, gave his two cents on the matter, “We are receiving more and more calls about the flu and viruses spreading in the Territory, and we encourage the public to take precautions to protect against contracting and spreading the flu and COVID.”

“The flu and the COVID vaccines are the most effective methods to prevent severe symptoms and curb the spread of these viruses. Additional preventive measures include practising good hand hygiene, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home when feeling unwell.”

While the government is dealing with a difficult situation, it has been preparing for such eventualities, which can be attributed to the experience that the nation’s medical apparatus has had due to the pandemic.

While the current spike in numbers is considered minuscule by many observers, Reuben Molloy explained that the 15 COVID cases registered in January and seven flu cases in December could spike sharply due to large gatherings as people engaged in Christmas and Carnival celebrations.

One of the complexities that medical professionals have to tackle is caused by the fact that patients who contract the flu or COVID present with similar symptoms which make the process of diagnosis a much more difficult proposition.

Both sets of patients might present with symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever or chills, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea.

Medical personnel and the government have advised citizens to get vaccinated for both the flu and COVID-19 as they are seen as the best defense against these diseases or at the very least as a measure to mitigate the impact of the viruses.

St Kitts and Nevis attempts to tackle respiratory diseases

In light of the recent spike in respiratory diseases experienced by member states of PAHO, the Ministry of Health in St Kitts and Nevis has assured citizens that it continues to maintain surveillance to monitor respiratory diseases in the nation.

According to PAHO, such measures are necessary since the recent rise of acute respiratory diseases in the Americas and the Caribbean has been brought on due to the effects of SARS-CoV-2, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus.

Medical personnel at emergency rooms on both the islands of St Kitts and Nevis have begun evaluating patients who present with symptoms including fever, headache, coughing, sore throat, loss of sense of taste or smell, shortness of breath, joint pains, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

According to the Ministry of Health, SARS CoV-2 has now been classified as an endemic which means that the citizens of St Kitts and Nevis must be prepared to function despite it, while taking precautionary measures and making every attempt to limit the spread of the disease.

These steps are being taken in light of the fact that while no confirmed cases of COVID were reported in December 2023, St Kitts and Nevis has confirmed 7 cases of COVID-19 between the 1st and the 12th of January.

The Ministry of Health has tried to assuage the public by explaining that the rise in respiratory diseases is expected during the current season, yet will be monitored to ensure that the situation does not get out of hand.

As is the case in most neighbouring nations, the Ministry of Health has attributed this sudden rise in cases of respiratory illnesses to an increased influx of tourists and celebrations such as Christmas and Carnivals during the holiday season.

The norm suggests that respiratory illnesses hit their peak during the months of January, February and March every year.

Thus, the Ministry of Health has urged citizens to take precautionary measures during this time to protect themselves and their loved ones.

Nia Roberts
Nia Roberts
Nia Roberts, journalist at Writeups24, brings academic rigour and storytelling together. Nia's work covers diverse topics and uncovers hidden truths, amplifying marginalized voices. She stands as a paragon of journalistic integrity and a champion for the underrepresented. To reach Nia Roberts, you can email


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