In a follow-up to a report on the local transmission of chikungunya on the Cook Islands from early February, health officials report the outbreak is showing a steady increasing trend since the first cases were reported last November 2014.
As of Mar. 15, Cook Islands put the case count at 174 cases with 13 additional cases reported last week.
Elsewhere in the Pacific, measles outbreaks are ongoing in Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu.
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.