Puerto Rico declares chikungunya epidemic (Update)

July 17, 2014

Health officials in Puerto Rico on Thursday declared an epidemic of the mosquito-borne virus known as chikungunya.

Health Secretary Ana Rius said more than 200 cases have been confirmed on the island as of June 25, and that the majority of them have been reported in the capital of San Juan and nearby areas.

The first case of chikungunya in the U.S. territory was reported in late May.

Also on Thursday, officials in Jamaica reported the island's first confirmed case. Chief medical officer Dr. Kevin Harvey said the virus was found in a person who had recently traveled to a country where there have been locally transmitted cases.

Across the Caribbean, the Pan American Health Organization has recorded more than 354,000 suspected and confirmed cases as of July 11. The Western Hemisphere's first locally transmitted case was confirmed in December in the French Caribbean territory of St. Martin.

Chikungunya was first identified in Africa in 1953. It causes a high fever and severe pain in the joints, but is rarely fatal. There is no vaccine, and it mainly is treated with pain medication.

Related Stories

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.

Guyana has first cases of virus new to region

May 28, 2014

At least two people have been sickened by the mosquito-borne chikungunya virus in Guyana in the first locally transmitted cases in the South American country, the health minister said Wednesday.

Cuba confirms first six cases of chikungunya virus

June 18, 2014

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 ...

Recommended for you

Experimental MERS vaccine shows promise in animal studies

July 28, 2015

A two-step regimen of experimental vaccines against Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) prompted immune responses in mice and rhesus macaques, report National Institutes of Health scientists who designed the vaccines. ...

Can social isolation fuel epidemics?

July 21, 2015

Conventional wisdom has it that the more people stay within their own social groups and avoid others, the less likely it is small disease outbreaks turn into full-blown epidemics. But the conventional wisdom is wrong, according ...

Lack of knowledge on animal disease leaves humans at risk

July 20, 2015

Researchers from the University of Sydney have painted the most detailed picture to date of major infectious diseases shared between wildlife and livestock, and found a huge gap in knowledge about diseases which could spread ...

IBD genetically similar in Europeans and non-Europeans

July 20, 2015

The first genetic study of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) to include individuals from diverse populations has shown that the regions of the genome underlying the disease are consistent around the world. This study, conducted ...

0 comments

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.