Chikungunya continues to expand in Americas

Chikungunya is continuing to expand in the Caribbean and neighboring parts of the Americas, with media or government reports of the first associated cases in Mexico and Grenada, a suspected case in the Cayman Islands, and two locally acquired cases in Venezuela.

In Mexico, Spanish-language reports cited a case in a person who had traveled to Antigua and Barbuda in the Caribbean to attend sports events. The man's illness was diagnosed on Jun 20.

In Grenada, the health ministry yesterday reported five chikungunya cases on Carriacou, a smaller neighboring island that is under Grenada's jurisdiction. The cases were confirmed on Jun 25 by the Caribbean Public Health Agency, the statement said.

The ministry didn't say specifically whether the cases, which were reported in two villages, were imported or locally acquired.

Venezuela has identified cases in two people who had not traveled recently, suggesting the infections were locally acquired, according to a computer translation of a report in El Nacional, a Caracas newspaper. The translation was posted on FluTrackers, an infectious-disease message board.

Venezuela has previously reported imported chikungunya cases associated with the Caribbean epidemic. Its neighbor to the east, Guyana, has already had locally transmitted cases.

In the Cayman Islands, a suspected case was reported in a woman who was got sick with fever and joint pains after her return from another island (which was not named) on Jun 22 and was hospitalized Jun 25, according to a Cayman Compass story today.

Local authorities responded to the possible case by using insecticide fogging to attack mosquitoes in the area around the patient's home, the story said. Officials noted that the case could turn out to be dengue fever.

ECDC update

In other developments, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) yesterday updated its risk assessment concerning the Caribbean chikungunya epidemic. It notes that suspected local transmission of the virus was reported recently in Costa Rica and El Salvador, raising concern about possible spread in parts of the American continents where Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are found.

The report observes that imported chickungunya cases in Europe could trigger local transmission in parts of Europe where Aedes albopictus mosquitoes exist, as well as in Madeira, which has A aegypti mosquitoes.

On Jun 20 the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said more than 189,000 confirmed, probable, and suspected chikungunya cases have been reported in the Caribbean and neighboring parts of South America since the epidemic began on Saint Martin in December.

See also:

Jun 27 CNNMexico story (in Spanish) on Mexican case

Jun 27 FluTrackers thread with computer translation of a media report on Mexican case

Jun 27 FluTrackers item on Venezuelan cases

Jun 26 Grenada health ministry statement on five cases

Jun 25 ECDC risk assessment

PAHO chikungunya page

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