Travel Warning: Those Headed to Caribbean at Risk of Mosquito-borne Chikungunya

Travel warning for Caribbean: mosquitos transmitting chikungunya, with no known cure. (Christian Lambert Photography / Flickr)
Travel warning for Caribbean: mosquitos transmitting chikungunya, with no known cure. (Christian Lambert Photography / Flickr)

Travelers heading to the Caribbean are at risk of being infected with with the chikungunya virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in an update last week.

What is the current situation?

Local transmission of chikungunya is now being reported in the Caribbean. Local transmission means that mosquitoes in an area have been infected with chikungunya and are spreading it to people.

The CDC reports: “As of June 4, 2014, the following Caribbean countries have reported cases of chikungunya:

  • Anguilla
  • Antigua
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Dominica
  • Dominican Republic
  • French Guiana
  • Guadeloupe
  • Guyana
  • Haiti
  • Martinique
  • Puerto Rico
  • Saint Barthelemy
  • Saint Kitts
  • Saint Lucia
  • Saint Martin (French)
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Sint Maarten (Dutch)

What is chikungunya?

Chikungunya is an illness caused by a virus that spreads through mosquito bites. The most common symptoms are fever and joint pain. Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash,” explains the CDC website.

Travelers to Caribbean warned to be extra careful about mosquitoes. (Ruurmo / Flickr)

Travelers to Caribbean warned to be extra careful about mosquitoes. (Ruurmo / Flickr)

Among other countries also infected with chikungunya, Haiti has already had 6,000 cases since the beginning of the year, while the Dominican Republic hit 40,000 over the same period, an increase of 82 percent and 380 percent, respectively, over the same period last year,according to CDC data.

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