Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Chikungunya Virus Spreading Quickly in Haiti

The mosquito-borne Chikungunya virus, which has been spreading across the Caribbean in recent months but only reached Haiti last week, is now spreading like wildfire across the island nation. There is currently no vaccine or cure but there are treatments to relieve the symptoms. The CDC recommends taking precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Haiti Chikungunya Outbreak Spikes To Over 1,500 Cases

Robert Herriman, The Global Dispatch
May 13, 2014

In a follow up to a report Saturday where it was asked, “How bad is it in Haiti?” concerning chikungunya, we are starting to see how quickly the mosquito borne virus is spreading on the island nation.

Image/CDC

According to Ronald Singer, a spokesman for Haiti’s health ministry, at least 1,529 cases of the chikungunya virus have been confirmed. Of these, about 900 of them, were found in the west department, where the capital of Port-au-Prince is located. Another 300 cases were confirmed in northwestern Haiti, the Associated Press reports.

This is up dramatically from the 14 confirmed cases just less than a week ago. For more infectious disease news andinformation, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page.

On Sunday, the Haitian news source, Haiti Libre reported that  Dr. Marie Raymond Guirlène Charité, the General of the Ministry of Health Director,announced on Sunday, May 11, 632 people have officially caught the chikungunya virus in Haiti.

According to a World Health Organization (WHO), Chikungunya is a viral disease that is spread by mosquitoes. It causes fever and severe joint pain.Other symptoms include muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash.

The disease shares some clinical signs with dengue, and can be misdiagnosed in areas where dengue is common.

There is no cure for the disease. Treatment is focused on relieving the symptoms.

The proximity of mosquito breeding sites to human habitation is a significant risk factor for chikungunya.

The disease occurs in Africa, Asia and the Indian subcontinent. In recent decades mosquito vectors of chikungunya have spread to Europe and the Americas. In 2007, disease transmission was reported for the first time in Europe, in a localized outbreak in north-eastern Italy.

The CDC notes there is currently no vaccine or medicine to prevent chikungunya. People can protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites.

 

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