While much of the Western hemisphere has slowed concerning new autochthonous cases of the mosquito borne viral disease, chikungunya (CHIKV), one country is reporting significant numbers of CHIKV going into 2015.

Aedes aegypti/CDC
Aedes aegypti/CDC

In the Andean area of South America, Colombia has reported more than 175,000 cases since July 2014.

Between the 3rd and 5th epidemiological week of 2015, Colombia saw an increase of nearly 34,000 cases.

Other countries seeing an increase in cases, although not all-inclusive, include Brazil and El Salvador.

Since the first locally acquired cases of CHIKV were reported in the Caribbean in Dec. 2013, the total cases in the Americas are well above 1.2 million.

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.