The Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency, CARPHA, is warning the Caribbean to be prepared for the full impact of the mosquito-borne chikungunya virus, eight months after the first case was detected.

The agency’s Executive Director, Dr James Hospedales, told the Caribbean Media Corporation that almost all CARICOM countries have now reported cases of the virus.

Jamaica’s Ministry of Health says there’ve been 21 cases so far, the majority being locally transmitted.

Dr. Hospedales says there’ve been more than 9-thousand confirmed cases of chikungunya with another 600-thousand suspected cases in the region.

He says as the virus continues to spread, the agency will host an expert consultation next month to look at all the plans across the region and to identify the best ways to protect people and the economy of the Caribbean.