- Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted to humans by the bite of infected Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, similar to dengue. Chikungunya causes fever and severe joint pain.
- The virus was first detected in Tanzania in 1952.
- Since 2004, intense and extensive outbreaks have been reported in Africa, on islands in the Indian Ocean and in the Pacific region, and Southeast Asia (India; Indonesia; Myanmar; Maldives; Sri Lanka and Thailand).
- In December 2013, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported the first local transmission of chikungunya virus in the Western Hemisphere identified in Saint Martin.
- It has become a major international public health concern. It is prevalent in several countries in the Caribbean and Americas. For list of countries please visit www.carpha.org or www.cdc.gov
- In June 2014, the first case was confirmed in the Cayman Islands. As of December 31st, 2014, there were 44 confirmed cases (28 imported, 16 local).
- The disease shares some clinical signs with dengue, and can be misdiagnosed in areas where dengue is common. Joint paint is predominant in chikungunya, while muscle pain is predominant in dengue.
- There is no medication against the virus. Treatment is focused on relieving the symptoms- bed rest, pain killers, and plenty of fluids.
- There is no vaccine against chikungunya or dengue. Prevention of these diseases is through protective measures against mosquito bites by use of mosquito repellents on skin and clothing, and when outdoors during times that mosquitoes are biting, wearing long- sleeved shirts and long pants tucked into socks.
- The proximity of mosquito breeding sites to human habitation is a significant risk factor for chikungunya. People can greatly assist in reducing the local Aedes aegypti population by clearing their yards of containers that can hold water as these are favourite breeding sites for this mosquito.
- For further information contact the Public Health Department 244-2648 or visit http://carpha.org/What-We-Do/Public-Health-Activities/Chikungunya or http://www.cdc.gov/chikungunya/geo/united-states.htm
- For advice on mosquito control contact the Mosquito Research and Control Unit on 949-2557 in Grand Cayman or 948-2223 in Cayman Brac; and Department of Environmental Health on 949-6696 in Grand Cayman or 948-2321 in Cayman Brac.