El Salvador chikungunya cases near 100,000, Dominican Republic at half-a-million | Outbreak News Today

[C]hikungunya infections  continue to rise in Central America, with the Dominican Republic reporting half a million infections as of October 31. That’s 500,000 reservoirs for mosquitoes, which means the infection rate will probably continue to climb until everyone who is not protected with DEET or some other repellent is positive for the disease. The Pan American Health Organization released its most recent figures on Friday (Nov. 7, 2014), and the numbers are sobering. One of the most sinister aspects of chikungunya is that some patients suffer chronic symptoms for years, which provides long-term therapeutics income for pharmaceutical companies.

In June 2014, El Salvador reported locally transmitted chikungunya cases for the first time in Central America. Five months later we see El Salvador with a total of 93,000 cases. By far the biggest rise in any one country, the Central American country went from 16,443 suspected and confirmed cases the week ending Oct. 31 to 93,274 yesterday for an increase of nearly 77,000. […] In the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic, which hasn’t reported a case to the PAHO in some time, reported an additional 13,000 locally acquired cases during the past week, bringing the island’s total to 499,000.

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Second Form Of Chikungunya Virus In Brazil, Could Spread To U.S.

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Poster showing signs and symptoms of Chikungunya Disease. Click to enlarge.

[W]ith Ebola dominating headlines across the globe, many people have either forgotten or never knew about the troublesome virus called Chikungunya. My husband and I started discussing this disease several years ago on our program, PID Radio, but since its emergence in Tanzania in 1952, the virus and the mosquito that carry it have arrived in the Western Hemisphere, and even the United States.

Chikungunya is said to be a Kimakonde (Southeast Africa) word that best translates as ‘that which bends up or becomes contorted’, referring to the stooped appearance of sufferers. Incubation is from 2-5 days, and initial symptoms are high fever, joint pain, and sometimes a rash. Though some recover within days, others suffer for weeks or even months. The virus can cause gastrointestinal, ocular, and even cardiac problems.

Chikungunya is a vector-borne disease, transmitted by A. aegypti (yellow fever) and A. albopictus (Asian tiger) mosquitoes. The former type only recently arrived in the US, but A. albopictus thrive across the entire United States. A. aegypti is the most likely to carry Chikungunya virus–for now. Eventually, as more people carry the virus, there is greater chance for mutation, which could make A. albopictus a more efficient vector for the disease. Recent sequencing indicates that the virus is mutating; in fact a ‘second strain’ has now appeared in Brazil:

Brazil has more than 200 confirmed cases of chikungunya. Presently, the new strain appearing in Brazil has not developed the mutations seen in the Southeast Asia strain, according to Vasconcelos.

“Genetic adaptations, if present, could make the virus as much as 100 times more infectious to mosquitoes,” said Stephen Higgs, a chikungunya expert at Kansas State University.

“Such single-point mutations could still develop, however, and it is hard to predict how likely that will be,” Vasconcelos said. “The mutations effectively lower the threshold for what it takes for a mosquito to become infected with chikungunya, replicate the virus in its body and pass it on to humans with its bite.”

via Second Form Of Chikungunya Virus In Brazil, Could Spread To U.S. : Design & Trend.

Venezuela in grip of severe tropical disease outbreak: NGOs

[E]bola isn’t the only disease running rampant in parts of the world. Chikungunya, Dengue Fever, and Malaria are vector-borne illnesses that not only debilitate but can also cause death. Below is an excerpt from yesterday’s report regarding current cases in Venezuela, but the three diseases–all spread by mosquitoes.

In 2014, Venezuela had over 150,000 recorded cases of dengue, malaria, and Chikungunya, the report said.The country also had 1.2 million fever episodes without a precise diagnoses, according to the report by the Health Observatory and another group called We Defend the Epidemiology of Venezuelan Society.

via Venezuela in grip of severe tropical disease outbreak: NGOs.