Last updateFri, 04 Mar 2016 12pm
Lakeside Cardiology

Chikungunya virus spreading throughout Mexico

The chikungunya virus has extended to ten Mexican states, and while only two cases have been reported in Jalisco, neighboring Colima has 34 confirmed cases.

Nonetheless, health authorities here have taken the precaution  of posting warning notices at the Guadalajara Airport, advising travelers of the symptoms of the illness.

Like dengue fever, this arthropod-borne virus is transmitted to humans by virus-carrying Aedes mosquitoes.  It produces an acute febrile phase lasting two to five days, followed by a longer period of joint pains in the extremities, sometimes lasting many months, or even years.

The onset of the rainy season has caused a spike in the number of chikungunya cases nationally, federal health authorities report. Guerrero is the worst affected state, with 839 confirmed cases, followed by Oaxaca with 268 and Chiapas with 263.

The worst affected country in Latin America is Colombia with 250,000 estimated cases.

Even though chikungunya symptoms can be severe, the disease is rarely fatal, unlike dengue.  Also unlike dengue, chikungunya can be contracted by an individual only once, since it gives lifelong immunity. According to the CDC, people at higher risk to chikungunya include those with arthritis or serious underlying medical conditions (such as high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes), people older than 65 and women who are late in their pregnancies.

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