Chikungunya Virus may Soon Spread to the US

Chikungunya is mosquito-borne viral disease that causes fever, headache, severe joint pain and rash on the body. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has revealed that the chikungunya virus may soon spread to the US. Researchers therefore emphasized on stepping up efforts to reduce mosquito population.

Chikungunya was first identified in 1952 in present-day Tanzania. Since then the virus has been confirmed in other countries in Africa, Asia, The South Pacific and Europe. In December 2013, the first locally acquired case of chikungunya in America was reported in the Caribbean. The report said, “Since then, chikungunya has been identified in 44 countries or territories throughout the Americas.”

Scott Weaver, researcher from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, said, “Chikungunya continues to be a major threat to public health around the world. Other than anti-inflammatory drugs to control symptoms and joint swelling, there are no specific therapies to treat infected persons and no licensed vaccines to prevent chikungunya fever. Until there is a treatment or vaccine, the control of chikungunya fever will rely on mosquito reduction and limiting the contact between humans and the two virus-carrying mosquitoes, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus.”

Mosquito control measures generally focus on reducing or treating standing water and water storage containers where eggs are laid and larvae develop as well as wearing protective clothing and/or insect repellent.

Source: Medindia

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