News Scan for Dec 07, 2015

More Hawaiian dengue
New chikungunya cases
Zika virus in Panama

Hawaii dengue cases grow to 139

The Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH) said today that the number of locally acquired dengue fever cases has risen by 27 in less than a week, for a total of 139 cases on the big island of Hawaii.

Of the confirmed cases of dengue fever, 122 are in Hawaii residents and 17 involve visitors. Most of the total cases (78%, or 108) have occurred in adults, while 31 cases (22%) involve children. Illness onset occurred from Sep 11 to Nov 28.

The HDOH has excluded 424 potential cases due to negative test results or failure to meet case criteria. "This is the first cluster of locally-acquired dengue fever since the 2011 outbreak on Oahu," the agency said in the update.

High- and moderate-risk areas for dengue fever currently lie along the western and eastern coasts of the big island. State health officials continue to conduct vector control activities and monitor for imported cases.
Dec 7 HDOH update


Chikungunya case total climbs by more than 17,000

Regions in the Americas and Caribbean reported 17,398 recent cases of chikungunya, bringing the outbreak total to 1,788,058, according to a Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) update late last week.

The agency's previous two updates included 4,370 and 2,556 new cases, respectively, but last week's update, on Dec 4, included 2 weeks of data. The new infections bring the total this year to 641,289 suspected and confirmed cases. PAHO also reported 1 death, raising that total to 77.

Honduras, reporting on 12 weeks of data, had the most cases, 10,168, to raise its 2015 total to 82,008. Colombia, which often has the most cases, was next, with 3,450 new cases to bring its 2015 total to 354,298 cases. Brazil, reporting 6 weeks of data, had 2,506 new cases and 15,650 for the year. Many countries, however, have not reported on chikungunya for weeks.

The epidemic began in December 2013 with the first locally acquired chikungunya case ever reported in the Americas, on St. Martin in the Caribbean.
Dec 4 PAHO update


Large cluster involving fever, rash prompted Panama Zika testing

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Dec 5 confirmed Panama's first Zika virus infections and provided details on the cases. The first locally acquired cases in the country were first reported last week by local media.

The illnesses were detected after Panama's ministry of health was alerted on Nov 27 of 68 patients with fever and rash on Ustupu island, in Guna Yala province. Samples were obtained from 43 patients, of whom 30 were symptomatic, and sent for testing at the Commemorative Gorgas Institute for Health Studies in Panama.

Samples were negative for dengue and chikungunya. Three of 30 samples from symptomatic patients were positive for Zika virus. The patients are all women, age 29, 48, and 58.

The WHO said Panama's health officials have issued a national alert, stepped up mosquito control efforts, and strengthened surveillance.

The rapidly emerging disease, spread by Aedes mosquitoes, is especially worrisome, because Brazilian health officials have linked it to a steep rise in microcephaly, or diminished head and brain size.
Dec 5 WHO statement
Dec 4 CIDRAP News story "Panama reports first Zika virus cases"

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