Canada expands chikungunya travel health warning for the Caribbean

According to the latest advisory from the agency, “there have been confirmed cases of chikungunya on the Caribbean islands of Saint Martin/St. Maarten, Dominica, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint-Barthélemy and the British Virgin Islands. These cases mark the first time that locally acquired transmission of chikungunya has been detected in the Region of the Americas.”

Symptoms include a sudden high fever, severe pain in the wrists, ankles or knuckles, muscle pain, headache, nausea, and rash. Joint pain and stiffness are more common with chikungunya than with dengue. The symptoms appear between four to seven days after the bite of an infected mosquito. The majority of clinical signs and symptoms last three to 10 days, but joint pain may persist longer. Severe cases requiring hospitalisation are rare.

There is no vaccine or treatment for chikungunya, which has infected millions of people in Africa and Asia since the disease was first recorded in 1952.

The Canadian health agency recommends that travellers protect themsleves from mosquito bites, “particularly during peak mosquito biting times around sunrise and sunset” and to see a health care provider if symptoms similar to chikungunya develop after returning to Canada. 

Reprinted from caribbean360.

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