In response to the reports of locally acquired chikungunya on the island country in the South Pacific Ocean, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) a travel notice Wednesday.
The Cook Islands Ministry of Health has confirmed seven cases of chikungunya on Rarotonga since November 2014, in which three of the cases were considered locally acquired.
Local transmission means that mosquitoes in the area have been infected with chikungunya and are spreading it to people.
CDC recommends that travelers to the Cook Islands protect themselves from mosquito bites. Some travelers may be more likely to get chikungunya, have severe disease, or be at higher risk for other reasons. CDC advises travelers in high-risk groups to discuss their travel plans with their health care provider.
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.