Published On: Fri, Apr 4th, 2014

Chikungunya outbreak tops 20,000 confirmed and suspected cases in the Caribbean

The chikungunya outbreak in the Western Hemisphere that began with two autochthonous cases on St. Martin (FR) in early December has hit a milestone of sorts. There are now greater than 20,000 confirmed and suspected cases of the mosquito borne viral disease in the French Caribbean and parts of South America.

Female Aedes aegypti mosquito Image/James Gathany

Female Aedes aegypti mosquito
Image/James Gathany

According to the ECDC, there are now 3,366 confirmed and 17,896 suspected cases of chikungunya reported from 11 islands/countries bringing the total to 21,262.

In addition, both the Dominican Republic (suspected cases) and Saint Lucia (confirmed according to their health ministry) are reporting cases not included in the ECDC report.

Of the total suspected and confirmed cases, five cases reportedly ended in death.

According to a World Health Organization (WHO) Fact Sheet, Chikungunya is a viral disease that is spread by mosquitoes. It causes fever and severe joint pain.Other symptoms include muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash.

The disease shares some clinical signs with dengue, and can be misdiagnosed in areas where dengue is common.

There is no cure for the disease. Treatment is focused on relieving the symptoms.

The proximity of mosquito breeding sites to human habitation is a significant risk factor forchikungunya.

The disease occurs in Africa, Asia and the Indian subcontinent. In recent decades mosquito vectors of chikungunya have spread to Europe and the Americas. In 2007, disease transmission was reported for the first time in Europe, in a localized outbreak in north-eastern Italy.

The CDC notes there is currently no vaccine or medicine to prevent chikungunya. People can protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites.


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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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