Chikungunya in Cuba

Cuba: Alert in the Americas over chikungunya

Cuba: Alert in the Americas over chikungunya

Via the Cuban news agency Prensa Latina: Alerta en las Américas por enfermedad vírica chikungunya.[Alert in the Americas over viral disease chikungunya] While Prensa Latina has run numerous stories on the subject, this is the first one I recall that mentions Cuba itself. Excerpt, with my translation:

La región de las Américas está expuesta a una nueva enfermedad, la fiebre chikungunya, un proceso viral que se transmite por mosquitos y se caracteriza por fiebre y dolores articulares, aseguró una experta cubana. 
The region of the Americas is exposed to a new disease, chikungunya fever, according to a Cuban expert who described it as a viral infection transmitted by mosquitoes and characterized by fever and joint pain.
“Muchos países de América Central y varias islas del Caribe reportan casos de la dolencia, que también provoca dolores de cabeza, náuseas, cansancio y erupciones cutáneas, explicó la doctora Lilia Ortega, infectóloga y jefa de terapia intensiva del Instituto de Medicina Tropical “Pedro Kourí”, en La Habana. ”
Lilia Ortega, infectologist and chief of intensive therapy in Pedro Kouri Institute of Tropical Medicine, said many countries in Central America and Caribbean islands have reported cases of the illness, which also causes headaches, nausea, fatigue, and skin rashes.
Algunos signos clínicos son similares a los del dengue, con el que se puede confundir en zonas donde éste es frecuente, agregó. 
Some clinical signs are similar to those of dengue, with which it can be confused where dengue is endemic, she added.
Por el momento en Cuba no se ha reportado ningún afectado, destacó la experta, pero recordó que en esta nación circula el mosquito transmisor, el Aedes aegypti, por lo que existe una alerta epidemiológica y se crean protocolos de actuación para enfrentar un posible brote. 
Cuba has so far reported no cases, the expert emphasized, but the observed that the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which carries it, circulates in this country. For this reason there is an epidemiological alert and protocols are being created to deal with a possible outbreak.
Ortega señaló que la mayoría de los pacientes que adquieren la infección se recuperan completamente, a veces puede incluso pasar inadvertida, pero algunas personas mantienen dolores articulares por tiempo prolongado.
Ortega said most patients who acquire the infection recover completely, sometimes it may even pass unnoticed, but some persons suffer joint pains for a prolonged time.
I’m surprised by the remark about “many countries in Central America.” To the best of my knowledge, only Panama has had confirmed cases—two, both imported. Honduras has had a chikungunya scare but no confirmed cases, and all Central American countries have said they’ve been on alert since the first Caribbean cases last December.

In general, I take this report to be an indication that Cuba either has cases already or expects to have them soon, and doesn’t see much point in denying chikungunya the way it denied cholera. But if Cuba does have a widespread outbreak, tourism will ensure it spreads at least to Canada and possibly to Europe.

Source: H5N1: Cuba: Alert in the Americas over chikungunya – http://crofsblogs.typepad.com/h5n1/2014/05/cuba-alert-in-the-americas-over-chikungunya.html

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