The World Health Organization (WHO) wrote in a recent Disease Outbreak News (DON) concerning the geographical expansion of dengue and chikungunya beyond the historical areas of transmission in the Region of the Americas:
There have been 2.8 million dengue cases reported in the Americas in 2022, which represents over a two-fold increase when compared to the 1.2 million cases reported in 2021. The same increasing trend has been observed for chikungunya, with a high incidence of meningoencephalitis possibly associated to chikungunya reported by Paraguay, which is of further concern.
The General Directorate of Health Surveillance in Paraguay, Dr. Guillermo Sequera reported Friday that 329 meningoencephalitis cases due to chikungunya have been reported in 2023 to date.
Chikungunya is a mosquito-borne viral disease that causes fever and severe joint pain. The disease was first recognized in 1952 during an outbreak in southern Tanzania.
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is most commonly transmitted by female mosquitoes of the species Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, which can also transmit other mosquito-borne viruses, including dengue and Zika. They bite throughout daylight hours, although there may be peaks of activity in the early morning and late afternoon.
According to the duration of the clinical manifestations, chikungunya may be acute, sub-acute and chronic. Severe symptoms progressing to death are rare; however, patients at extremes of the age spectrum are at higher risk for severe disease. The disease is clinically characterized by the sudden onset of fever, frequently accompanied by severe and debilitating arthralgia or arthritis, that varies in duration; neurological complications, such as Guillain-Barré syndrome and meningoencephalitis, have been reported. Most patients recover fully from the infection, and the infection can provide lifelong immunity.
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