Cuba: 6 Cases of Chikungunya Virus in Travelers
HAVANA June 18, 2014 (AP)
By PETER ORSI Associated Press
Cuban health authorities on Wednesday said they detected six cases of
chikungunya fever, a debilitating, mosquito-borne virus that is
suspected of afflicting tens of thousands across the Caribbean since its
arrival in the region last year.
In a statement published by Communist Party newspaper Granma and other
official media, the Health Ministry said the cases were found in people
who had recently traveled to Haiti and the Dominican Republic, where
there have been thousands of locally transmitted cases of the virus.
Their condition was "evolving favorably."
Some Cubans make regular trips to those and other countries to import
clothing and other goods for resale. Havana has also sent large
contingents of medical workers to treat the poor in Haiti and elsewhere,
though the Ministry said they undergo quarantine before returning.
Chikungunya, which has long been present in Africa and Asia, was first
detected in the Caribbean in December.
Deriving its name from an African word that loosely translates as
"contorted with pain," chikungunya is rarely fatal, but those who have
contracted the virus call it a miserable experience.
Its symptoms have been described as a combination of a terrible flu and
a sudden case of arthritis, with searing headaches, a high fever and
intense muscle and joint pain.
Cuba is in the early part of its summer monsoon season, when
mosquito-borne diseases typically spike.
As in other years, in recent weeks Cuban authorities have ramped up a
campaign to send brigades of workers door-to-door fumigating houses,
offices and government buildings nationwide.
"The Health System ratifies the need to intensify the vector-control
fight that is being carried out in the country, for which it is
essential that in every home and workplace the necessary actions are
guaranteed to eliminate possible (mosquito) breeding grounds," the
Ministry said in its statement.
It advised islanders traveling to other parts of the Caribbean to see a
doctor upon their return and to seek immediate medical care if they
experience symptoms typical of the virus.
According to a report by the Pan American Health Organization, there
have been about 166,000 suspected and 4,600 confirmed cases of
Chikungunya in the Caribbean as of mid-June.
Peter Orsi on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Peter—Orsi
Source: Cuba: 6 Cases of Chikungunya Virus in Travelers - ABC News -