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Mosquito-Transmitted Chikungunya Virus Detected For First Time In Caribbean

“A nasty virus first detected in Africa that is spread to people by the bite of infected mosquitoes is being locally transmitted in the Americas for the first time on the tiny French Caribbean dependency of St. Martin, health officials said Tuesday,” the Associated Press reports. “Epidemiologists have so far confirmed about a dozen cases of locally acquired chikungunya virus in St. Martin,” but “[t]here are dozens more suspected cases,” the news agency writes. “On Tuesday, the [CDC] sent out a health advisory to doctors in the United States to consider chikungunya infection in patients with acute onset of fever and joint pain, ‘especially those who have recently traveled to the Caribbean,'” the AP notes. “Health officials on … the island are responding to the outbreak by reducing mosquito breeding sites, enhancing epidemiological surveillance and enlisting the help of the public to clear out stagnant water,” the news agency states (McFadden, 12/17).