The chikungunya outbreak in the South Pacific islands of French Polynesia is hitting some alarming numbers, according to a Radio New Zealand report Friday.


The report notes that an estimated 130,000 chikungunya cases have been reported, along with 14 fatalities.

These numbers are up dramatically from what was published by the Auckland Regional Public Health Service on Dec. 16.

At that time, less than one month ago, French Polynesia saw 35,000 cases, with seven deaths (Bureau de Veille Sanitaire; Health Surveillance Office).

Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes such as Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus.

It can cause high fever, join and muscle pain, and headache. Chikungunya does not often result in death, but the joint pain may last for months or years and may become a cause of chronic pain and disability.

There is no specific treatment for chikungunya infection, nor any vaccine to prevent it. Pending the development of a new vaccine, the only effective means of prevention is to protect individuals against mosquito bites.