Mexico’s First Case of Chikungunya Virus

Chikungunya is spread by two mosquito species, and is typically not fatal. But it can cause debilitating symptoms including fever, headache and severe joint pain lasting months.

The government of Chiapas, which borders Guatemala, said an 8 year old girl became the first person to contract the disease in Mexico, and that she was treated in hospital in the town of Arriaga. The girl has since been released.

There is no commercial vaccine for the virus, which was detected for the first time in the Americas late last year.

Chikungunya has already appeared in much of the Caribbean, Central America and the United States. A handful of people have had the virus in Mexico, including on woman in Jalisco, having contracted it abroad.

In September, El Salvador said it had detected nearly 30,000 cases of the virus. In the United States, locally transmitted infections – as opposed to infections in Americans traveling abroad – were reported for the first time this year.

Chikungunya, a virus more commonly found in Africa and Asia and transmitted by the aedes aegypti mosquito that causes dengue fever, was first detected in the eastern Caribbean at the start of 2014.

The virus is transmitted to people by mosquitoes. The most common symptoms of chikungunya virus infection are fever and joint pain. Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash.

Outbreaks have occurred in countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Indian and Pacific Oceans. In late 2013, chikungunya virus was found for the first time in the Americas on islands in the Caribbean.

Prevention

  • No vaccine exists to prevent chikungunya virus infection or disease.
  • Prevent chikungunya virus infection by avoiding mosquito bites (see below).
  • The mosquitoes that spread the chikungunya virus bite mostly during the daytime.

Protect Yourself from Mosquito Bites

  • Use air conditioning or window/door screens to keep mosquitoes outside. If you are not able to protect yourself from mosquitoes inside your home or hotel, sleep under a mosquito bed net.
  • Help reduce the number of mosquitoes outside your home or hotel room by emptying standing water from containers such as flowerpots or buckets.
  • When weather permits, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Use insect repellents
  • Repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, and oil of lemon eucalyptus and para-menthane-diol products provide long lasting protection.
  • If you use both sunscreen and insect repellent, apply the sunscreen first and then the repellent.
  • Do not spray repellent on the skin under your clothing.
  • Treat clothing with permethrin or purchase permethrin-treated clothing.
  • Always follow the label instructions when using insect repellent or sunscreen.

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