The landlocked South American country of Paraguay reported their first locally acquired chikungunya virus case in an Asuncion resident, according to health officials.


According to Dr. Andrea Ojeda, the spokesperson for the Health Monitoring agency, the woman works as a housekeeper for two people who had picked up the virus during a trip to Puerto Rico.

In addition to the first indigenous case, Paraguay has reported three imported chikungunya cases to date.

Paraguay follows a short list of South American countries now reporting local transmission of chikungunya virus including Colombia (>19,000), Venezuela (>7,000) and Brazil (173).

To date, the Pan American Health Organization has reported more than 793,000 indigenous chikungunya cases since the virus was introduced in the Western hemisphere last December.

The World Health Organization says the name ‘chikungunya’ derives from a word in the Kimakonde language, meaning “to become contorted” and describes the stooped appearance of sufferers with joint pain (arthralgia).

Chikungunya is characterized by an abrupt onset of fever frequently accompanied by joint pain. Other common signs and symptoms include muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash. The joint pain is often very debilitating, but usually lasts for a few days or may be prolonged to weeks.

Most patients recover fully, but in some cases joint pain may persist for several months, or even years.

The virus is transmitted from human to human by the bites of infected female mosquitoes. Most commonly, the mosquitoes involved are Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, two species which can also transmit other mosquito-borne viruses, including dengue.

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