Jamaican prime minister Portia Simpson Miller announced that the island nation is in a 'national emergency' this week over the outbreak of Chikungunya.
The mosquito-borne virus shares similar symptoms to Dengue, often leading to fever and joint pain that can last from days to years.
"I want to stress that we are in a national emergency," Simpson Miller said, "I have therefore, assumed a lead role in mobilizing the nation and national resources."
Earlier this month the Jamaican government launched an Emergency Response Team to coordinate national actions to contain the Chinkungunya virus and reduce the number of cases. The government designated US$4.5 million in state resources for the team's efforts.
“This is our country,” she said. “We all have a stake and a vested interest in protecting it and in keeping our people safe and healty.”
The disease has spread throughout the region since surfacing in St. Martin in 2013, with almost 800,000 suspected cases in the Caribbean reported. The majority of these are in the Dominican Republic.