Brazil is the #1 Hot-Zone for Chikungunya
Are you traveling to Brazil soon? Did you know outbreaks of the chikungunya virus are taking place throughout in the Caribbean, Central and Latin America?
Since 2013, the chikungunya virus has sickened 2,527,280 people, according to Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) data. During 2017, there have been 140,569 chikungunya cases reported in the Americas.
The newest PAHO report identified 50,800 new cases in Brazil.
This data represents a 57% increase in reported chikungunya cases in just a few weeks.
Additionally, the number of Brazilian deaths from the chikungunya disease increased from 34 to 51. No other country in the Americas has reported a chikungunya-related death.
According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year, millions of travelers visit countries where chikungunya outbreaks are active. When traveling to countries with chikungunya virus, such as Brazil, travelers should heed travel instructions from the CDC.
The CDC has issued a Watch Level 1 for Brazil and is suggesting travelers use insect repellent, wear long sleeves and pants, and stay in places that use windows and door screens.
Chikungunya is spread by mosquitoes, and, for most patients, the infection is over after around a week, but certain groups, such as babies and the elderly, can be at risk of serious complications.
There are two types of mosquitoes that can spread chikungunya virus – Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. People can become infected through mosquito bites.
There is currently no FDA approved vaccine or cure for this virus.
But, a promising prophylactic vaccine candidate against chikungunya fever will be tested in a phase II clinical study in Puerto Rico. This vaccine is developed by the Austrian biotech company Themis Bioscience GmbH; it is a live attenuated vaccine, based on a standard measles vaccination vector that offers an excellent immunogenicity and safety profile.