Thu | Jan 17, 2019

Chik-V tally nears 500,000

Published:Wednesday | October 1, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Delimene Saint Lise holds her two-month-old daughter Gisline, suffering from chikungunya, inside their tent home in the Delmas section of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where many people live in flimsy shacks without much protection from mosquitoes.
In this September 25, photo, containers hold genetically modified Aedes aegypti mosquitoes before being released in Panama City. The Gorgas Memorial Institute for Health Studies, along with British biotechnology company Oxitec Ltd, released the mosquitoes to combat and control populations of mosquitoes that transmit dengue. The Aedes aegypti mosquito is the main vector for another viral disease called chikungunya that appeared less than a year ago in the Americas and is raging across the region. ap photos

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP): The mosquito-borne virus known as chikungunya has sickened nearly 500,000 people in the Dominican Republic, including 109 newborn babies, an official with the Caribbean country's health ministry disclosed recently.

The virus was transmitted to the newborns by their mothers, who had the illness when they gave birth, said Carmen Adames, who is coordinating the health ministry's response to the outbreak. None of the infants died, she said.

The Dominican Republic has been particularly hard hit by chikungunya since the first locally transmitted case was documented in the Western Hemisphere in late 2013. The first cases in the Dominican Republic appeared in March.

The Pan American Health Organization says there have been at least one million cases throughout the hemisphere. Symptoms of the illness include high fever, severe headaches and joint pain that can last for months. There is no vaccine for the illness, which is rarely fatal, and no specific cure for it.

Health authorities have launched campaigns to encourage people to remove containers of standing water to control the two species of mosquitoes that transmit the virus.