Chikungunya cases in the Americas increased last week by a dramatic 24%, to 442,310, with the Dominican Republic accounting for most of the new illnesses, according to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
Guadaloupe, Haiti, and Martinique each contributed thousands of new cases to the total as well, PAHO said in its Jul 18 update on the epidemic, which began on St. Martin last December.
The total reported by the agency included 436,586 suspected and 5,724 confirmed cases, versus 350,580 suspected and 5,037 confirmed cases (a total of 355,617) a week earlier.
30% increase in Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic's case total climbed by 58,538 to reach 251,951, a 30% increase from the previous week.
The island of Guadeloupe reported 11,000 new cases, raising its total to 63,000, for the second-biggest jump last week, according to PAHO figures. Haiti, the Dominican Republic's next-door neighbor, logged 10,592 new cases, pushing its total to 62,422.
In Martinique, 5,390 new cases raised its cumulative total to 48,940, PAHO reported.
Five more deaths increased the epidemic's fatality toll to 26. Four of these were on Guadeloupe, and the other was on Martinique.
The report also shows that Venezuela has reported its first two locally acquired chikungunya cases. The country also has had 43 imported cases, which is up from 28 listed a week ago.
PAHO has added three nations to its list of those reporting imported cases but no locally acquired ones: Bolivia (3 cases), Trinidad and Tobago (3), and Jamaica (1).
234 imported US cases
Meanwhile, the United States dropped off that list, having reported its first two locally acquired cases (in Florida) on Jul 17. The country also has had 234 imported cases, federal officials reported last week.
Also, the case count for Puerto Rico, which declared a chikungunya epidemic last week, reached 685 (502 suspected and 182 confirmed), an increase of 277, according to PAHO.
Jul 18 PAHO chikungunya update
Jul 14 CIDRAP News story on previous PAHO update