The chikungunya epidemic in the Americas continues to be fueled by activity in Colombia, which accounted for the vast majority of news suspected and confirmed cases reported by UN health agencies this week.

Aedes aegypti/CDC
Aedes aegypti/CDC

The new total cases in the Western Hemisphere stands at 1,367,781 since the first cases were reported in the Caribbean in Dec. 2013.

In Colombia, the total autochthonous, or locally acquired cases increased by nearly 15,000 putting the total over a quarter million (258,307) since the virus was first detected locally last summer. Only the Dominican Republic has recorded more.

Elsewhere, Puerto Rico has reported about 400 cases since the beginning of the year. Since the outbreak began on the island, almost 31,000 cases and 15 deaths have been reported.

The chikungunya situation in Puerto Rico has caused some alarms for officials in Ft. Myers as a newly scheduled direct flight from the island to the Southwest Florida International Airport is to soon commence. Sun Country will fly directly to Puerto Rico beginning May 3.

In Florida last year, 26 percent (119) of the 452 travel-associated chikungunya cases reported was due to a travel history to Puerto Rico (also 6 imported dengue fever cases). To date in 2015, three of the 16 imported cases were linked to Puerto Rico travel.

In the US this year, as of April 7, 2015, a total of 77 chikungunya virus disease cases have been reported to ArboNET from 21 U.S. states for 2015. No local transmission has been recorded to date.