Chikungunya Virus-Haiti and Caribbean Information

For teams traveling to Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and other Caribbean islands, the recent news of the Chikungunya Virus may be of concern. In an effort to help provide information to those teams, the following is based on various reports and information from the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

The Chikungunya Virus is spread by mosquitoes. Authorities in Haiti have confirmed 14 cases, as of May 9, of the Chikungunya Virus, according to Health Minister Florence Guillaume Duperval. Although there are only 14 confirmed cases, it is believed that there may be hundreds of Haitians affected. John Carroll, a physician from Illinois, working with the charity Haitian Hearts noted in a blog on May 10 that a local employee in Port-au-Prince seems to have symptoms suggesting Chikungunya. Additionally, on May 9, he went to an orphanage and found that 25 children and five adults appeared to have symptoms indicating Chikungunya. In the Dominican Republic, at least 150-200 cases of Chikungunya have been confirmed since the virus was recognized there in March. The Pan American Health Organization reported 4,175 confirmed cases and 45,413 suspected cases of Chikungunya Virus region-wide. There are no reported cases in Central or North America as of May 9, 2014.

According to the CDC, symptoms of Chikungunya Virus usually begin within 3-7 days and include fever and debilitating joint pain. The virus may also present with symptoms of a headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash. Most patients feel better within a week and the virus does not often result in death.

There is no vaccine or medicine to specifically treat Chikungunya Virus. The symptoms may be managed by: getting plenty of rest; drinking lots of fluid to decrease dehydration; and taking medicine such as ibuprofen, naproxen, acetaminophen or paracetamol, to relieve pain and reduce fever.
Click here for the CDC for general information regarding Chikungunya Virus.