Chikungunya Virus Spreads to Mexico from the Caribbean


Mexico’s National Epidemic Surveillance System has identified an “imported” case of the chikungunya virus, the Health Secretariat said in a statement, the Latin AMerican Herald Tribune reports.

The patient had traveled to a sports event in Antigua and Barbuda, where the Pan American Health Organization has reported four confirmed cases.

“Up to now no domestic cases have been detected in our country,” the official statement said.

Mexico joins the list of countries affected by a virus that up to seven months ago was unknown in this part of the world.

In December 2013, a local infection of the chikungunya virus was detected for the first time in the Americas with the confirmation of two cases on the island of St. Martin.

The chikungunya virus was originally reported in the 1950s when an outbreak occurred in a village in southeastern Africa.

Chikungunya is a virus transmitted to man and monkey by the same mosquitoes that spread dengue fever: the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus species.

The disease has symptoms similar to dengue, including muscle pain, high fevers and general fatigue.

The Health Secretariat said that no vaccine exists to prevent infection by this virus nor any specific treatment, and that it can only be managed by relieving the symptoms.

The number of suspected chikungunya cases in the Americas rose to more than 185,000 by June 20 and the illness has caused 21 deaths.

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