Published On: Mon, Jun 23rd, 2014

Sen. Chuck Schumer calls on CDC to issue health alert, urges DHS to declare a ‘public emergency’ for chikungunya threat

With the World Cup ending next month, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer urged the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to issue an immediate health alert for medical professionals in New York and around the country that includes recommendations for identifying, treating and containing Chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that is rarely fatal but causes severe fevers, arthritic-like joint paint, muscle pain, headaches, joint swelling and rashes.

Sen. Charles Schumer Image/US Government

Sen. Charles Schumer
Image/US Government

Second, Schumer called on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to declare a “public emergency” for the developing threat in the Caribbean and other countries, so that the United States can deploy specific protocols and resources at our borders and elsewhere to prevent the spread of the virus in the U.S.. Schumer said that these protocols would allow federal agencies to take specific actions – like increased inspections at U.S. ports of entry and additional scans of imported food products that could carry mosquitoes – and should be similar to those activated as the swine flu took hold in Mexico in 2009.

“With the large influx of people into and out of Brazil for the World Cup, the painful mosquito-borne virus called Chikungunya could spread rapidly and further increase the number of cases here in the U.S. and New York,” said Schumer. “With three confirmed cases of Chikungunya in New York already, I am calling on the federal government to help contain and prevent the further spread of this virus with by activating protocols similar to those used in 2009 when the Mexican swine flu outbreak threatened to spill over into the United States. I’m urging the CDC to issue a health alert so doctors can first, better identify and treat symptoms and second, educate individuals on how to prevent the spread of Chik-V. Third, the Department of Homeland Security should increase port of entry inspection measures for the virus, and fourth we must boost food inspection to better detect this mosquito.”

Related story: Chuck Schumer calls on the CDC to increase research on Powassan virus, other tick-borne diseases

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of June 17, there were 57 imported chikungunya cases in the US, although that number is somewhat higher with new cases reported from states on a daily basis.

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) reported in their weekly update, 189,055 autochthonous chikungunya cases in the Caribbean. Brazil, the home of the 2014 World Cup, has reported 11 imported cases. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page

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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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