The number of imported infections of the tropical, mosquito borne viral disease, chikungunya has topped 200 cases in Canada, according to Health Canada earlier this month.

Image/Perry-Castañeda Library

The chikungunya virus, which made it’s first appearance as a locally acquired infection in the Western hemisphere last December in the Caribbean, has grown to over 770,000 cases in the Americas, prompting declarations of states of emergency in several countries.

The 201 cases reported by Canadian health officials have been confirmed “among travelers returning from endemic areas in 2014,” said Eric Morrissette, a spokesman for Health Canada. “A very significant rise in infections by this virus has occurred in 2014, which is consistent with the large outbreak in the Caribbean region and ongoing activity in the Asia-Pacific area,” Morrissette said.

Concerns of local transmission of chikungunya is very low as the mosquito vector for the virus is not found in Canada.

The latest numbers on Chikungunya reported by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) puts Canada at 8 cases.

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. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page

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