Scientist have cautioned against Chikungunya, an illness caused by a virus spread via mosquito bites, as it is spreading to other Caribbean countries. The disease was first detected in 2012 in the US.
The mosquito-bitten disease has fever and joint pain as common symptoms. Other important symptoms include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling or rash.
Health experts say, no vaccine or medicine has been developed so far, hence, the people, especially those visiting the affected regions, should avoid mosquito bites by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants and properly covered clothes, besides using an appropriate insect repellent.
According to the experts, deaths from chikungunya are rare. Among the age groups on high risk are very young, very old and very sick.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta announced the names of Caribbean countries that reported cases of chikungunya as of April 29: Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Dominican Republic, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Kitts, Saint Martin (French), Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Saint Maarten (Dutch).
According to the CDC website, “Travelers who go to these islands in the Caribbean are at risk of getting chikungunya. In addition, travelers to Africa, Asia, and islands in the Indian Ocean and Western Pacific are also at risk, as the virus is present in many of these areas.”
Chikungunya virus carrying mosquitoes can bite anytime, whether day or night.
- high fever
- severe joint pain mainly in the arms and legs
- muscle pain
- back pain
- rash (about 50 percent of affected people).
The symptoms and illness in most of the people start disappearing after seven to 10 days of treatment. Although some people may develop longer term joint pain.