Dengue-like chikungunya virus reported in El Salvador

June 15, 2014

Salvadoran health authorities confirmed Saturday that a dengue-like disease that has been spreading across the Caribbean has now appeared in the Central-American country.

Health Minister Violeta Menjivar said at least 1,200 people have been formally diagnosed with the chikungunya viral disease, although the positive testing must still be confirmed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Menjivar, interviewed by state-run Channel 10 television, said that cases were found on the outskirts of the Ayutuxtepeque municipality just outside the capital San Salvador.

In that area at the end of May, the ministry's epidemiologists and infectious disease specialists detected an outbreak of a rare that caused fever and skin rash, which they said affected at least 181 people.

She said suspected cases were also found in residents in two other area on the edge of northern San Salvador.

The mosquito that transmits chikungunya—the Aedes aegypti—is the same one that spreads dengue.

The health ministry has asked people "to eliminate breeding sites" at their homes.

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

It has also spread to southern Europe—with an outbreak in Italy in 2007 and southern France in 2010—and arrived in the Caribbean last year, appearing in Martinique and Saint Martin.

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

The disease's name is derived from an east African word meaning "that which bends up," referring to the way that patients are stooped over in pain.

Explore further: WHO sees first chikungunya cases in western hemisphere

Related Stories

WHO sees first chikungunya cases in western hemisphere

December 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.

Scientists: Mosquito virus spreads to Americas

December 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 ...

Haiti offers treatment as virus outbreak surges

May 23, 2014

Haitian health authorities will distribute pain medication to clinics around the country amid a surge in suspected cases of a mosquito-borne virus that is new to the region, a government official said Friday.

Recommended for you

Ebola virus mutations may help it evade drug treatment

September 11, 2015

Genetic mutations called "escape variants" in the deadly Ebola virus appear to block the ability of antibody-based treatments to ward off infection, according to a team of U.S. Army scientists and collaborators. Their findings, ...

Study finds viral protein that causes dengue shock

September 9, 2015

Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, have identified a key culprit responsible for the fluid loss and resulting shock that are the hallmark of severe - and potentially fatal - dengue virus infections.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.