Wednesday, September 13, 2006

REUNION ISLAND - Chikungunya virus

The BBC has a warning for people travelling to vacation destinations in the Indian Ocean. Travellers are being warned about the increased risk from the crippling Chikungunya virus which swept the island of Reunion beginning March 2005.
The Health Protection Agency said there were 93 cases in people from the UK by August this year, compared to an average of six in previous years.

Cases of the mosquito-borne virus have been recorded on Indian Ocean islands and on the Indian mainland, the HPA's annual conference was told.
Since March 2005 the number of cases of Chikungunya - Swahili for "that which bends up - have been increasing in the islands of the Indian Ocean, particularly the island of Reunion.

The World Health Organisation estimates around 110,000 people were affected in an outbreak on the island between March 2005 and February 2006.
Although the effects of the Chikungunya virus are not generally fatal, symptoms include high fever, headache, severe joint pains, a rash along with nausea and vomiting.
Symptoms usually appear between four to seven days after being bitten and can persist for several weeks.

There is no vaccine against Chikungunya. Treatment consists of relieving symptoms by using painkillers, taking plenty of fluids and resting.
Full story at BBC News - Chikungunya Virus.

Wikipedia link - Chikungunya

We first reported the outbreak of Chikungunya back in March 2006.

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