SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2016

Cases of chikungunya fever continue to increase in the Caribbean

The European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention said on Monday that new cases of chikungunya fever have been reported since December when it concluded the risk of the disease spreading to other Caribbean islands was high.


An outbreak of chikungunya in the Caribbean region was reported from the French part of Saint Martin on Dec. 5. That area of the island now has 294 probable or confirmed cases.


Other islands also have confirmed cases of the disease. Martinique has 127 confirmed or probable cases; Saint Martin has two confirmed cases; Saint Barthelemy has 31 probable or confirmed cases; Guadeloupe has 27 probable or confirmed cases; French Guiana has once confirmed case; and Jost Van Dyke islands have three confirmed cases.


The chikungunya outbreak was detected during an outbreak of dengue in the the Caribbean. The viruses are transmitted to humans from the same species of mosquito.


The population has not received vaccinations, and the degree of travel between islands are factors for increased and continued infection, according to the ECDC.


ECDC said its December risk assessment is still valid, and clinicians and travel medicine clinics should remain aware and diligent in reporting cases of dengue and chikungunya in the Caribbean.