Chikungunya Arrives in the Caribbean

 CHIKUNGUNYA ARRIVES IN THE CARIBBEAN – On December 13, 2013, the New York Times reported that Chikungunya, a virus transmitted by the Tiger mosquito — and endemic to Africa, India and South East Asia — has appeared for the first time in the Caribbean, on the island of St. Martin.   Chikungunya, translated as “that which bends up” in the Mkonde language of Tanzania and northern Mozambique, causes an infection similar to Dengue fever: acute febrile syndrome of up to 40 (°C)  (104 °F), rash of trunk and limps, nausea, headache, vomiting and arthralgias in multiple joints. Chikungunya can also cause ocular inflammation and retinal lesions. The incubation period ranges from 1 to 12 days. 

The National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) classifies Chikungunya as a Category C pathogen, giving it the third highest priority among emerging pathogens that could be engineered for mass dissemination due to availability, ease of production and dissemination, and the potential for high morbidity.[1]