More than 65,000 Chikungunya Virus Cases Reported Near US
The mosquito-borne Chikungunya virus is spreading across the Caribbean and portions of the Americas at an alarming rate, resulting in more than 65,000 suspected and confirmed cases, according to the Pan-American Health Organization.
According to the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Chikungunya virus is a debilitating virus that causes severe joint pain, muscle pain, fever, and rash. According to the CDC, these symptoms usually begin three to seven days after a victim has been bitten by an infected mosquito, and the effects -- particularly joint pain -- can last for several months.
The virus which is not commonly fatal, is still difficult to treat and has no vaccination. According to the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), in association with the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 55,000 suspected and confirmed cases of this relatively new virus have swept across the Caribbean alone in the recent months, with thousands of other cases likely gone unreported.
The virus - more commonly found in Asian and Africa - has spread to a number of Caribbean islands and has even reached Florida, largely because the daytime-biting aedes aegypti mosquito has found adequate breeding conditions in a large number of regions.
"These mosquitoes know no borders," Phyllis Kozarsky, a physician with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, told Times Live.
According to the CDC, the virus has spread to Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Dominican Republic, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Martinique, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Sint Maarten.
Combined, this has resulted in more than 65,000 suspected cases in the Americas and 13 confirmed deaths, according to a recent WHO/PAHO report released on Friday.