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100 percent of the Latin American and Caribbean population is susceptible to Chikungunya fever

Posted on August 22, 2014 • Filed under: Caribbean, Latin America Health, TRAVEL

Chikungunya Fever Cases Reported in Latin America – (excludes Caribbean) Costa Rica, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela. (source: CDC)

Worldbank.org reported Chikungunya fever is spreading more rapidly through Latin America and the Caribbean than it takes to learn to spell and pronounce its name correctly.

The virus has already killed 21 people and infected some 6,000 in the region, a relatively small number compared with similar diseases. However, experts are concerned that Latin Americans still have not developed antibodies against the disease given its recent appearance.

In other words: the entire Latin American population is at risk of infection. The disease did not previously exist in the region, for which reason 100 percent of the Latin American and Caribbean population is susceptible to it. In other worlds, there is no record of antibodies to chikungunya and no natural resistance to the disease. Consequently, infection via mosquito is extremely high. Finally, the fact that Aedes aegypti is the same vector as dengue means that countries with high rates of that disease also will be vulnerable to chikungunya.

Like Ebola, which is now a global problem, chikungunya originated in Africa. In the local Makonde language, the name of the disease means “to double over in pain.” On that continent, the first outbreaks were reported in 2004. The virus has since spread to Oceania, Southeast Asia and parts of Europe. Read Article

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