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 Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) said that this is the first time locally-acquired cases of chikungunya have been detected in the Caribbean.
In its update, released Monday, the ECDC said that the number of cases of the disease had increased from 66 in December.
The ECDC said the Dutch side of the island has reported one case and that the nearby islands of St. Barthelemy (11), Martinique (8) and Guadeloupe (3) confirmed cases.
The ECDC had earlier warned of the “autochthonous transmission of chikungunya on St. Martin, risk for travel-related cases in continental Europe and unlikely onward transmission from imported cases in EU”.
The ECDC warned that the risk of spread of the disease from St. Martin to other islands in the Caribbean region was “high”, adding that the disease is “new to the Caribbean, therefore, the laboratory capacity to confirm suspected cases is limited and should be strengthened”.