The number of chikungunya cases in the Central American country has risen to nearly 30,000 since the mosquito borne virus was first detected there in June, according to a Reuters report today.

El Salvador map
Central America map/CIA

El Salvador’s head of emergency services, Jorge Melendez said the total cases is now 29,704 with 204 requiring hospitalization for their illness. In addition, Melendez said most of the cases have been reported in the capital city of San Salvador.

“Having never been in contact with this strain, the Salvadoran population has no defense,” Melendez said, adding that nobody has died from the outbreak.

The reported 29,704 cases is a large increase from the 16,443 autochthonous cases reported by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) in their latest update last Friday. El Salvador has also reported some 46,000 cases of another mosquito borne virus, dengue fever, this year to date. The same mosquito vector is responsible for transmitting both diseases.

In total, the PAHO says there has been some 738,000 locally acquired chikungunya cases reported in the Americas since first detected in December 2013.

Earlier this week, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a travel notice for 4 Central American countries reporting chikungunya: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala and Panama.

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