The Ecuadorian Health Ministry has confirmed 20 cases of the mosquito borne virus, chikungunya, Public Health Minister Carina Vance said today.

Ecuador map/CIA
Ecuador map/CIA

Vance told local media (computer translated) that most of the cases are in the coastal province of Manabí.

She warned that the virus is most common in poor areas with little potable water, where the public feels it has to store water; this helps the proliferation of the mosquitoes.

Related: Colombia chikungunya epidemic tops 80,000, ‘Not out of control’: Health minister

Vance advised citizens to be on the alert, observe protective and sanitary measures, and inform Public Health authorities about any suspected chikungunya cases.

Prior to this report, Ecuador only saw 3 locally acquired and 7 imported cases, according to the most recent Pan American Health Organization data published last Friday.

Since Dec. 2013, when the first local transmission of chikungunya was reported in the Caribbean, there has been approximately 1.1 million autochthonous cases reported in the Americas.

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