In a follow-up to a report last month from Senegal, the French language news source, RFI reports that the number of chikungunya cases reported from the Kédougou region has reached 20.

Aedes mosquito
Aedes aegypti image/CDC

The cases are primarily seen in mine workers in the gold zone. Prior to this past month, the latest active circulation of chikungunya in the affected area was reported between 2009 and 2010.

According to Dr. Moussa Ndiaye, infectious disease specialist in Dakar, “The samples were collected and analyzed by the Pasteur Institute in Dakar. Cases were only isolated at the gold zone, the Kédougou region. It is the only region of Senegal where cases have been reported at this time.”

Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes. It causes fever and severe joint pain. Other symptoms include muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash. Joint pain is often debilitating and can vary in duration. The disease shares some clinical signs with dengue, and can be misdiagnosed in areas where dengue is common. There is no cure for the disease. Treatment is focused on relieving the symptoms. The proximity of mosquito breeding sites to human habitation is a significant risk factor for chikungunya. The disease occurs in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Indian subcontinent. Senegal was affected by the disease in 2009.