Thursday, June 19, 2014

Chikungunya virus reported in Cuba amid Caribbean outbreak

Chikungunya virus reported in Cuba amid Caribbean outbreak

A picture taken on May 30, 2014 in Santo Domingo shows employees of the
Dominican Ministry of Public Health sticking posters on a wall to
prevent the spread of the Chikungunya virus (AFP Photo/Erika Santelices)

Havana (AFP) - Cuban health authorities confirmed six cases of the
mosquito-born chikungunya virus Wednesday, the latest in a spate of
Caribbean countries reporting the fever-causing disease in their backyard.

The health ministry said that most of the cases were linked to
individuals who had traveled recently, likely to Haiti or the Dominican

In its statement, in state-run newspaper Granma, the ministry added that
the patients were "progressing well."

Chikungunya produces symptoms similar to dengue, including high fever,
joint pain and skin rash.

The virus is carried by mosquitoes -- most commonly the Aedes aegypti
and Aedes albopictus, which are also responsible for dengue.

Since December when two cases were confirmed on the Caribbean island of
St. Martin, chikungunya has cropped up across the Caribbean.

As of early March there had been more than 8,000 suspected cases in the
region, according to the World Health Organization.

Meanwhile health authorities in El Salvador Saturday said that the
disease had appeared in the Central-American country.

Cuba's ministry of public health gave notice it would "strengthen
surveillance and control measures of travelers arriving from countries
at risk of the disease, mainly in the Caribbean."

It added that almost all of those who were infected on the island were
linked to "illegal trade."

In Cuba, the only Communist country in the Americas, individuals
traveling abroad commonly import clothing, footwear and household
appliances which they sell at home, an which is considered an illegal

There is no vaccine or treatment for chikungunya, which has infected
millions of people in Africa and Asia since the disease was first
recorded in 1952.

Source: Chikungunya virus reported in Cuba amid Caribbean outbreak -
Yahoo News -

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