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Historic number of sickness benefit claims filed in August – NIS

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The Chikungunya virus has resulted in an historic number of sickness benefits claims being filed with the National Insurance Services (NIS).

According to information received from the NIS, for the six weeks between August 1 and September 15, 2014, eight hundred and eighty-two (882) sickness benefit claims costing a total of over $225,000, were filed with the NIS, because of the Chikungunya virus.{{more}}

Last month, a total of 1,081 sickness benefit claims of all types were filed, an increase of 56 per cent over the previous month (July), when 693 claims were filed.

“This is an historic level regarding number of claims received in a single month for any benefit type. Over the 28 years of NIS operations, this is the highest number of claims ever received for any benefit type,” an official of the NIS told SEARCHLIGHT.

“This increase in the number of claims is attributed to the significant number of reported cases of the Chikungunya,” the official said. Of the 1081 claims received by the NIS in August, 436 or 40 per cent of the claims were attributed to Chikungunya.

The official said the estimated cost of the Chikungunya claims in August 2014 is $111,450.76 or $255.62 per person, with the average number of sickness days reported by each claimant being six days.

The situation is already worse for the month of September. For the first half of the month, 446 cases have been reported, more than for the whole month of August.

The NIS official therefore estimated that the number of cases will level at about 900 for September, for a total cost in this month of $226,920.34.

The presence of the Chikungunya virus was first confirmed in St Vincent and the Grenadines in April, 2014, when three persons on the Grenadine island of Bequia were diagnosed.

Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected aedes egypti mosquito, resulting in fever and severe joint pain. Other symptoms include muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash.

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