The number of autochthonous chikungunya cases in the Americas increased by 17,433 during the past week, according to data from the Pan American Health Organization Friday.
A total of 15,435 cases of the mosquito borne virus, or nearly 90 percent were reported from Colombia. This brings the total locally acquired cases in the South American country to 142,196 since first reported in July 2014 in the Valle del Cauca.
Other countries to report additional chikungunya cases include Puerto Rico, St. Barts and St. Martin, where it all began in Dec. 2013.
In total, 1,172,787 local transmission cases of chikungunya have been reported in the western hemisphere in the past 14 months, including 181 deaths.
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.
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