Cases of mosquito-borne disease increase in Caribbean

By Gay Nagle Myers
MosquitoThe Centers for Disease Control updated its travel advisory for the Caribbean due to an increase in a mosquito-borne disease on some islands.

CDC said that the following islands have cases of chikungunya virus, carried by the aedes aegypti mosquito that causes a dengue-like sickness: St. Martin, 96 cases, up from 10 on Dec. 18; St. Maarten, one; Martinique, 13; Guadeloupe, 3; St. Barts, 7.

Authorities in French St. Martin and Dutch St. Maarten have taken preventative measures, including fogging near the Dutch-French border; yard-to-yard inspections to remove potential breeding spots and standing water; and public placement of banners and posters to alert residents and visitors.

The disease originated in Africa and was first recorded in 1952. This is the first time that it has been reported in the Western Hemisphere, according to the CDC.

There is no vaccine. Symptoms, which appear four to seven days after the bite of an infected mosquito, include a sudden high fever; severe pain in the wrists, ankles or knuckles; headache; nausea; and rash.

The mosquitoes bite during daylight hours with a peak of activity in the early morning and late afternoon.

Travelers can protect themselves by covering exposed skin, using insect repellent that contains DEET and sleeping in air-conditioned rooms.

Follow Gay Nagle Myers on Twitter @gnmtravelweekly. 
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