Newly arrived virus gains foothold in Caribbean

Associated Press

FILE- In this undated file photo provided byt he USDA, an aedes aegypti mosquito is shown on human skin. Health officials in the Dominican Republic said this Tuesday April 29, 1014, that the mosquito-borne chikungunya virus has spread widely since making its first appearance in the country. According to the Centers for Disease Control the chikungunya virus is most often spread to people by Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. These are the same mosquitoes that transmit dengue virus. They bite mostly during the daytime. (AP Photo/USDA, File)
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FILE- In this undated file photo provided byt he USDA, an aedes aegypti mosquito is shown on human skin. Health officials in the Dominican Republic said this Tuesday April 29, 1014, that the mosquito-borne chikungunya virus has spread widely since making its first appearance in the country. According to the Centers for Disease Control the chikungunya virus is most often spread to people by Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. These are the same mosquitoes that transmit dengue virus. They bite mostly during the daytime. (AP Photo/USDA, File)

KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) — A recently arrived mosquito-borne virus that causes an abrupt onset of high fever and intense joint pain is rapidly gaining a foothold in many spots of the Caribbean, health experts said Thursday.

There are currently more than 4,000 confirmed cases of the fast-spreading chikungunya virus in the Caribbean, most of them in the French Caribbean islands of Martinique, Guadeloupe and St. Martin. Another 31,000 suspected cases have been reported across the region of scattered islands.

The often painful illness most commonly found in Asia and Africa was first detected in December in tiny St. Martin. It was the first time that local transmission of chikungunya had been reported in the Americas. Since then, it has spread to nearly a dozen other islands and French Guiana, an overseas department of France on the north shoulder of South America.

 

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