Puerto Rico declares chikungunya epidemic

Puerto Rico declares chikungunya epidemic

The health officials in Puerto Rico declared an epidemic of chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has been confirmed in more than 200 cases across the island as of late last month.

Health Secretary Ana Rius said the majority of those cases were reported in the capital of San Juan and nearby areas.

The virus was introduced into the Caribbean region late last year and the first case in Puerto Rico was reported in late May.

Meanwhile, Jamaican health officials reported the nation’s first confirmed case on Thursday. Dr Kevin Harvey, chief medical officer for Jamaica, said chikungunya was found in someone who had recently travelled to a country where the virus has been transmitted locally.

As of July 11, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) recorded more than 354,000 suspected and confirmed cases of chikungunya across the Caribbean.

The first locally-transmitted case in the Western Hemisphere was confirmed in December in the French Caribbean territory of St Martin.

Chikungunya symptoms take three to seven days to appear in those who have contracted it. The virus results in high fever for up to five days and a longer period of severe joint pain in the extremities that renders patients largely immobile.

Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Younger patients usually make a full recovery in 5 to 15 days. Older patients can take up to two months to regain full strength, and elderly patients even longer.

The virus is rarely fatal, according to health officials. There is no vaccine yet, so treatment largely consists of pain medication.

Source; caribbean news now


chikungunya virus infects people on 5 Caribbean islands

Chikungunya, a viral disease spread by mosquitoes, has been confirmed in people on several Caribbean islands, the Public Health Agency of Canada says in a travel health notice.

“There have been confirmed cases of chikungunya on the Caribbean islands of Saint Martin/Sint Maarten, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint-Barthélemy and the British Virgin Islands,” the agency says. “These cases in the Caribbean mark the first time that locally acquired transmission of chikungunya has been detected in the Region of the Americas.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said local transmission means mosquitoes in the area have been infected and are spreading it to people.

The chikungunya virus can cause fever along with an arthritis-like pain in the joints and a rash. It is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Although caused by a different virus, the symptoms of chikungunya can appear very similar to those of dengue fever.

Dominica and French Guiana have each reported a case of chikungunya related to travel from within the Caribbean, the Canadian agency said.

The disease is typically found in Africa, Asia and the Indian subcontinent, according to the World Health Organization. In recent decades mosquito vectors of chikungunya have spread to Europe and the Americas.

Federal public health officials advise travellers to take precautions, such as protecting yourself from mosquito bites, particularly during peak mosquito biting times in the early morning and late afternoon.

The Public Health Agency also recommends that people consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic at least six weeks before you travel.

It says if you develop flu-like symptoms when you are travelling or within 12 days after you return, see a health care provider and tell them where you have been travelling or living.

Source” Cbc news