Guatemala has become the second Central American country (El Salvador has reported more than 16,000 cases) as health officials have reported their first cases since the epidemic hit the Western hemisphere last December.
Eight cases were confirmed by health authorities in the central city of Escuintla on Saturday, according to health minister Jorge Villavicencio.
Villavicencio said great efforts have been taken to prevent chikungunya from entering the country, which borders El Salvador.
The number of autochthonous, or locally acquired chikungunya cases in the Americas stands at 714,744 suspected and confirmed cases as of Sept. 12, according to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). The death toll from the epidemic is now 113.
Chikungunya is a virus transmitted by the bite of mosquitoes such as Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus . It causes high fever, joint pain, headache and muscle. Although it rarely causes death, joint pain can last for months or years and sometimes become a cause of chronic pain and disability for some people. There is no specific treatment or vaccine available to prevent infection of this virus. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page