Friday, June 20, 2014

Chikungunya virus spreads to U.S., Cuba

Chikungunya virus spreads to U.S., Cuba
By Sara Cheshire, Special to CNN
June 19, 2014 -- Updated 1858 GMT (0258 HKT)

Dangerous mosquito illness on the rise
Chikungunya virus has spread to Cuba, health officials say
A case was also just confirmed in the U.S. state of Georgia
100,000 chikungunya cases have been documented in the Caribbean this year

(CNN) -- Health officials are reporting new cases of the chikungunya
virus in Cuba and the United States. The debilitating virus has been
spreading in the Caribbean through infected mosquitoes since December,
according to the World Health Organization.
On Thursday, the Georgia Department of Public Health confirmed the
state's first case of chikungunya. Health officials say the patient was
infected during a recent trip to a Caribbean nation. Recent cases have
also been reported in North Carolina and Tennessee, with a total of 57
infections reported to the CDC this year, according to a CDC spokesperson.
Six chikungunya infections have also been documented in Cuba, according
to a local paper, which references the Cuban Ministry of Public Health.
The paper says the patients were frequent travelers to Haiti and the
Dominican Republic.
Close to 5,000 chikungunya cases have been confirmed in the Caribbean
this year, according to the Pan American Health Organization (PDF); more
than 160,000 cases are suspected. Locales with the virus include the
Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Experts say American tourists are bringing chikungunya back home, and
it's just a matter of time before it starts to spread within the United
New to the Americas, the virus, which causes fever and joint pain that
can become chronic, has no cure or vaccine.
Preventing mosquito bites is key to avoiding infection. Experts offer
these basic tips:
• Use bug spray if you are going out, especially in tropical or wooded
areas near water.
• Get rid of standing water; empty plastic pools, flower pots and pet
dishes so mosquitoes don't breed in them.
• Dress appropriately in long sleeves and pants.

Source: Chikungunya virus spreads to Cuba, U.S. - -

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