The number of chikungunya cases reported in Puerto Rico from Nov. 26 to Dec. 23 is 431 suspected and 45 confirmed, according to the Departamento de Salud de Puerto Rico (computer translated). Health officials do say that due to a delay in laboratory testing, the actuals numbers may be higher for the period.

Puerto Rico/CIA
Puerto Rico/CIA

This brings the cumulative total for 2014 on the Caribbean island to 25,234 suspected cases  and 4,227 laboratory confirmed cases. In 2014, Puerto Rico has reported 10 deaths due to chikungunya infection.

31 cases have been seen due to travel.

Chikungunya is a viral disease which is transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes – including Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. The name chikungunya originates from a verb in the Kimakonde language, meaning ‘to become contorted’. This refers to the ‘stooped’ appearance of those suffering with joint pain.

Chikungunya is rarely fatal. Symptoms are generally self-limiting and last for 2–3 days. The virus remains in the human system for 5-7 days and mosquitoes feeding on an infected person during this period can also become infected. Chikungunya shares some clinical signs with dengue and can be misdiagnosed in areas where dengue is common.

Chikungunya can be detected using serological tests. Recovery from an infection will confer life-long immunity.

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