Brazil Reports 80,949 Chikungunya Cases

Chikungunya disease identified in 13 Brazilian deaths
Travel (Vax Before Travel)

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) reported 38,282 new chikungunya cases in its May 26, 2017 update. This represents an 80 percent increase in the number of 2017 cases reported.

Brazil issued 3 weeks' worth of chikungunya cases, noted 37,939 new infections and 80,949 total infections for 2017.

In this PAHO report, the number of Brazilian deaths from this disease increased from 9 to 13.

According to the Centers of Disease and Control (CDC), there is no commercially available vaccine to prevent, nor medicine to treat the chikungunya virus infection.

Each year, millions of travelers visit countries where chikungunya outbreaks are ongoing. People become infected through mosquito bites. There are two types of mosquitoes that can spread chikungunya virus – Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus.

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.

In late 2013, the first local transmission of chikungunya virus in the Americas was identified in the Caribbean. Local transmission means that mosquitoes in the area have been infected with the virus and are spreading it to people.

Since 2013, local transmission has been identified in 45 countries or territories throughout the Americas with more than 1.7 million suspected cases reported to the PAHO.

In late 2013, chikungunya virus was found for the first time in the Americas on islands in the Caribbean. The CDC believes there is a risk that the virus will be imported to new areas by infected travelers.

According to the CDC, chikungunya disease does not often result in death, but the symptoms can be severe and disabling.  The most common symptoms are fever and joint pain. Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash. Most patients feel better within a week.  

However, in some people, the joint pain from chikungunya may persist for months.  According to the CDC, once a person has been infected and has recovered, they will likely be protected from future chikungunya infections.

“Chikungunya has been on the U.S. public health radar for some time. The CDC has been working with the Pan American Health Organization since 2006, preparing for its introduction,” said Lyle R. Petersen, MD, MPH, Director, Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, CDC.

“We are working with international public health partners and with state health departments to alert healthcare providers and the public about this disease, equip state health laboratories to test for it and to detect cases to help prevent further spread,” said Dr. Petersen.

Data source: Cases reported by IHR NFPs to PAHO/WHO and/or through Member States websites or official news publication. Cases reported by CARPHA for non-Latin Caribbean countries, unless other source specified.