Chikungunya Cases on the Rise; Update on Ebola

July 25, 2014 — In December 2013, the first cases of the mosquito-borne illness Chikungunya in the Americas were reported during an outbreak in the Caribbean (CDC). As of July 18, local transmission (infections spread to humans through mosquitoes in the area) had been identified in 24 countries or territories in the Caribbean, Central America, South America, or North America, with a total 436,586 suspected and 5,724 confirmed cases reported from these areas (CDC,PAHO).

PDC Global Hazards Atlas displaying Air Surface Temperature and Precipitation Accumulation (7day)
Chikungunya (pronunciation: \chik-en-gun-ye) virus is transmitted to people by mosquitoes. The most common symptoms of chikungunya virus infection are fever and joint pain. Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash. Outbreaks have occurred in countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Indian and Pacific Oceans. In late 2013, chikungunya virus was found for the first time in the Americas on islands in the Caribbean. There is a risk that the virus will be imported to new areas by infected travelers. There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat chikungunya virus infection. Travelers can protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites. When traveling to countries with chikungunya virus, use insect repellent, wear long sleeves and pants, and stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Currently, there is no specific treatment or vaccine for Chikungunya, and protection against mosquito bites is the only effective means of preventing the illness. One means of prevention and control of transmission is reducing natural and artificial water-filled container habitats that support mosquito breeding. Basic precautions during travel to risk areas include use of repellents, wearing long sleeves and pants, and ensuring that rooms are fitted with screens to prevent mosquitoes from entering (WHO).

PDC Global Hazards Atlas displaying PDC Active Hazards and Population Density (LANDSCAN)

The World Health Organization continues to monitor the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea (WHO). As of July 20, the confirmed cases of Ebola had reached 1,093 in the three countries, which includes 660 deaths from the virus. The outbreak was first reported in March 2014 in areas of south eastern Guinea (ReliefWeb). EVD is transmitted by direct contact with the blood and body fluids of infected people and animals, and it is believed that the West African epidemic started when the virus crossed over from infected wildlife into the human population (FAO).

Ebola virus disease (formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever) is a severe, often fatal illness, with a case fatality rate of up to 90%. It is one of the world’s most virulent diseases.The infection is transmitted by direct contact with the blood, body fluids and tissues of infected animals or people. Severely ill patients require intensive supportive care. During an outbreak, those at higher risk of infection are health workers, family members and others in close contact with sick people and deceased patients.

Ebola virus disease outbreaks can devastate families and communities, but the infection can be controlled through the use of recommended protective measures in clinics and hospitals, at community gatherings, or at home.World Health Organization


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