A little known emerging viral infection has gained a foothold in Florida. Chikungunya fever has spread from Africa to southern Asia and on to the Caribbean. It had been found sporadically in the USA in people who returned from areas where the disease was found. Recently a person developed Chikungunya without leaving Florida.
The mosquito borne disease had a major outbreak in an island off Madagascar in 2005/2006. Approximately 300 thousand people contracted the painful disease.
Mexico has recorded 7000 cases up to September 2015.
The disease can sometimes be mistaken for Dengue Fever(breakbone fever) because severe joint pain is common for both. Encephalitis is sometimes part of the infection. Generally the very young and very old are most vulnerable to permanent neurological damage. The death rate hovers around 17%. There is no vaccination or cure. Pain killers can be used to help with the joint pain.
Its name in the Makonde language, spoken in Tanzania and Mozambique in Africa, means "it bends up," because patients are often contorted with pain. They can spend weeks in bed, racked with pain. NBC News
The Aedes mosquito is the vector for this disease. It survives best in warm climates. It flies and feeds in daytime or night. It is active inside and outside. Because prevention is so important, WHO advises that people wear clothing that covers skin and the wearing of repellents like DEET. It advises travellers to these tropic areas to only sleep where intact screens are in place or to stay where air conditioning means that windows are shut tight.
As the planet warms, diseases of the tropics are expected to more easily spread as the insect carriers make their way to new territories. Aedes albopictus(tiger mosquito) is already adapted to living in climates cooler than the tropics. This busy arthropod is a vector for yellow fever, dengue and worm parasites in addition to chikungunya. It was introduced to N. America from Asia in old tires that contained water.
Blogger, gardener, farmer. Working toward food security and a 30 foot
diet. Addicted to reading. Love this planet, especially my little corner
on Vancouver Island, Canada