Mosquito-borne chikungunya virus still a concern for American travelers, CDC says

November 6, 2014
Mosquito-borne chikungunya virus still a concern for american travelers: CDC
Painful infection is common in Caribbean, and Central and South America.

(HealthDay)—Americans traveling to the Caribbean and Central and South America this winter need to be aware that an outbreak of the mosquito-borne disease chikungunya continues to spread in those areas, U.S. federal health officials said Thursday.

There is no vaccine or treatment for the infection, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Chikungunya causes symptoms such as fever and joint pain, although it's rarely fatal.

The outbreak began last December, and there had been about 795,000 cases of in 37 countries and territories since the end of October, the CDC reported.

As of Nov. 4, more than 1,600 travelers had returned to the United States with chikungunya since the start of the outbreak. Typically, about 28 Americans return home with chikungunya each year, the CDC experts noted.

It's likely that the disease will continue to pose a risk to travelers to these regions for the rest of the year and beyond, according to the CDC, with about 9 million Americans traveling to the Caribbean annually.

"The beginning of fall means that mosquito problems in the continental United States will be decreasing. However, travelers to areas where the chikungunya outbreak continues are at risk of becoming infected. It is important that travelers understand these risks and take appropriate actions to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes," Roger Nasci, chief of the CDC's Arboviral Diseases Branch, said in an agency news release.

Travelers should use insect repellent and wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants during the day, and stay in air-conditioned or well-screened rooms at night, the CDC advised. If you use sunscreen, apply after the sunscreen.

People more likely to develop severe symptoms if they become infected with chikungunya include those older than 65 and those who have arthritis, high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes, according to the CDC. These high-risk people should discuss their travel plans with their doctor before leaving.

Along with fever and joint pain, chikungunya can cause muscle aches, headache, joint swelling or rash. Joint pain caused by chikungunya can be severe and debilitating, the CDC explained. Travelers who return from areas with chikungunya activity who have symptoms of the disease should seek medical care and inform their doctor about their recent trip.

The is not spread between people, according to the CDC, and most people get better in about a week. However, some people will have long-term as a result of the infection.

People who've been infected are believed to have lifelong immunity against the , CDC experts noted .

Explore further: US gets first local case of mosquito-borne chikungunya

More information: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about chikungunya.

Related Stories

US gets first local case of mosquito-borne chikungunya

July 17, 2014
A Florida man who has not recently traveled outside the country is the first person in the United States to get the mosquito-borne chikungunya virus locally, officials said Thursday.

Chikungunya cases hit nearly 200 in Puerto Rico, 2 in Florida

July 18, 2014
Health authorities Friday reported nearly 200 confirmed cases of the chikungunya virus in Puerto Rico and the first two cases of the mosquito-borne disease in Florida.

Swatting chikungunya

September 18, 2014
Summer days may be waning, but health officials are still on high alert for new cases of chikungunya, a painful mosquito-borne virus that spread to the United States from the tropics earlier this year.

Chikungunya fever identified in the United States

September 23, 2014
(HealthDay)—Chikungunya fever is being seen in travelers returning to the United States from affected regions and should be considered as a diagnosis for febrile travelers, according to an ideas and opinions piece published ...

Video: Expert on threat of chikungunya virus

July 14, 2014
With a handful of New Englanders having recently contracted the mosquito-borne disease called chikungunya, should Massachusetts residents be worried about catching it?

CDC issues travel health advisory for St. Martin

December 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 ...

Recommended for you

Lung-on-a-chip simulates pulmonary fibrosis

May 25, 2018
Developing new medicines to treat pulmonary fibrosis, one of the most common and serious forms of lung disease, is not easy.

Reconstructing Zika's spread

May 24, 2018
The urgent threat from Zika virus, which dominated news headlines in the spring and summer of 2016, has passed for now. But research into how Zika and other mosquito-borne infections spread and cause epidemics is still very ...

Tick bite protection: New CDC study adds to the promise of permethrin-treated clothing

May 24, 2018
The case for permethrin-treated clothing to prevent tick bites keeps getting stronger.

Molecular network boosts drug resistance and virulence in hospital-acquired bacterium

May 24, 2018
In response to antibiotics, a gene regulation network found in the bacterium Acinetobacter baumannii acts to boost both virulence and antibiotic resistance. Edward Geisinger of Tufts University School of Medicine and colleagues ...

Past use of disinfectants and PPE for Ebola could inform future outbreaks

May 24, 2018
Data from the 2014 Ebola virus outbreak at two Sierra Leone facilities reveal daily usage rates for disinfectant and personal protective equipment, informing future outbreaks, according to a study published May 24, 2018 in ...

Early lactate measurements appear to improve results for septic patients

May 24, 2018
On October 1, 2015, the United States Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a bundle of recommendations defining optimal treatment of patients suffering from sepsis, a life-threatening response to infection ...

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.