An outbreak of the mosquito borne viral disease, chikungunya, in Mandera County in northeastern Kenya has landed some 540 in the hospital, and the numbers are expected to rise, according to a local media report.

Aedes aegypti Image/CDC
Aedes aegypti

Mandera Health chief officer Mariam Dubow said health officials have been dispatched to schools to check the number of students who may have been infected.

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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.