THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2016

More than 5,900 cases of Chikungunya in Caribbean, South America

More than 5,900 suspected cases of chikungunya have been reported in the Caribbean region and South America since December 6, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said on Friday.

The ECDC published a risk assessment of the outbreak of autochthonous cases of chikungunya fever on the French part of the island of Saint Martin on December 12. The ECDC said the risk of the disease spreading to other islands in the Caribbean region was high.

Since that time, autochthonous transmission of chikungunya was reported from several islands in the Caribbean and for the first time in French Guiana in South America.

There were 3,030 suspected cases of chikungunya reported in Martinique, 1,780 suspected cases in Saint Martin, 1,380 suspected cases in Guadeloupe and 350 suspected cases reported in Saint Barthélemy. Suspected cases were also reported in Sint Maarten, Jost Van Dyke islands in British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Anguilla, Island Aruba, Saint Kitts & Nevis and French Guiana.

The ECDC said clinicians and travel medicine clinics should remain vigilant regarding imported chikungunya and dengue cases from French Guiana and the Caribbean.

Chikungunya is a mosquito-borne viral disease that causes fever and arthralgia. Other complications include hepatitis, myocarditis and ocular and neurological disorders.