Mosquito-borne virus spreads rapidly in Haiti (Update)

A mosquito-borne virus that was detected for the first time in Haiti last week has quickly spread throughout the Caribbean nation, a health official said Tuesday.

Some 1,529 cases of the chikungunya virus have been confirmed, said Ronald Singer, a spokesman for Haiti's health ministry. The bulk of the cases, 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 new numbers seem to represent a startling jump over the past week. The health ministry said last Tuesday that lab results confirmed a mere 14 cases.

Since then, Port-au-Prince has been abuzz with people complaining about a sudden and debilitating illness that's been referred to as "the fever."

The symptoms of chikungunya include not just a sharp fever but also headache, full-body rash and joint pain. The illness is rarely fatal but recovery usually takes about a week. Some people experience joint pain for months to years.

The illness, which is most commonly found in Asia and Africa, was first detected in the Caribbean in December on tiny St. Martin.

It was the first time that local transmission of chikungunya had been reported in the Americas. Since then, it has spread to nearly a dozen other islands and French Guiana.

Its arrival in Haiti was expected. In neighboring Dominican Republic, authorities have confirmed at least 150 to 200 cases.

There is no vaccine for chikungunya and it is spread by the pervasive Aedes aegypti mosquito, which also transmits dengue fever in the region.

3 /5 (2 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Scientists: Mosquito virus spreads to Americas

Dec 17, 2013

A nasty virus first detected in Africa that is spread to people by the bite of infected mosquitoes is being locally transmitted in the Americas for the first time on the tiny French Caribbean dependency of St. Martin, health ...

CDC issues travel health advisory for St. Martin

Dec 18, 2013

U.S. health authorities have issued a travel advisory for the French Caribbean dependency of St. Martin because of a mosquito-borne viral disease that is apparently being spread locally at the start of the winter tourist ...

WHO sees first chikungunya cases in western hemisphere

Dec 10, 2013

Cases of chikungunya have occurred on the Caribbean island of Saint Martin, marking the first time the mosquito-borne disease has spread in the western hemisphere, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Tuesday.

Recommended for you

Depression tied to worse lumbar spine surgery outcomes

2 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Depressive symptoms are associated with poorer long-term outcome in patients undergoing surgery for lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS), according to research published in the Oct. 1 issue of The Sp ...

Ebola death toll edging to 4,900 mark: WHO

2 hours ago

The death toll in the world's worst-ever Ebola outbreak has edged closer to 4,900, while almost 10,000 people have now been infected, new figures from the World Health Organization showed Wednesday.

US to track everyone coming from Ebola nations

3 hours ago

U.S. authorities said Wednesday that everyone traveling into the U.S. from Ebola-stricken nations will be monitored for symptoms for 21 days. That includes returning American aid workers, federal health employees ...

US: Monitoring for all coming from Ebola nations

5 hours ago

U.S. health officials said Wednesday that they would begin monitoring all travelers—even Americans—who come to the U.S. from Ebola-stricken West African nations for 21 days, significantly expanding their vigilance.

User comments