Chikungunya spreads to the US from Caribbean
Chikungunya, a rapidly spreading infectious fever caused by a virus that spreads through mosquitoes is ravaging the Caribbean.
The virus has spread to the US through travelers who visited the Caribbean recently. The fever is generally associated with high fever, painful joints and severe headaches. The symptoms show up from three to seven days after a mosquito infected with the virus bites. It is not fatal, yet there is no vaccine for it. When treated with appropriate drugs the fever subsides and the symptoms disappear gradually in a week’s time.
Although treatable, it can easily spread from patient to patient and through mosquitoes easily.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that Florida accounts for the highest number of cases with 25 cases of Chikungunya reported so far. Continental United States still remain uninfected which is a good news because there are chances of rapid spreading of the disease there if infections enter the continental area.
Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee said, “It will be more difficult for the virus to establish itself here.”
The CDC is also keeping an eye on Arkansas, California, Maryland, Connecticut, Minnesota, New York, Virginia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands to take necessary action on time.
The Caribbean public health agency has reported that the number of sufferers has increased to 135,651, up from just over 100,000 on June 2. The virus has been detected in about 20 countries so far and the largest outbreak was witnessed in Dominican Republic where almost 77,000 cases were detected in just five months with 20,000 new cases suspected as Chikungunya.
Haiti has higher risks of acquiring the disease as the residents use stagnant water because of lack of running water resources in the region.