Hispaniola hot spots boost chikungunya cases over 300,000

Tuesday, July 8, 2014
By Paul Martin

Lisa Schnirring
Jul 07, 2014

The number of new chikungunya infections in the Caribbean region grew at a brisk pace last week, with most of the activity centered in the Dominican Republic and neighboring Haiti, as travel to those destinations continues to be linked to a number of imported cases in other countries.

The outbreak total climbed to 306,837 suspected and confirmed cases, an increase of 42,393 from the previous week, according to a Jul 3 update from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

Nearly 30,000 of the new infections were reported in the Dominican Republic, while about 12,000 of them were reported in Haiti. The two countries make up the island of Hispaniola.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said today in its weekly communicable disease threat update that most of the affected areas continue to report more cases, but the situation is especially severe on Hispaniola.
New cases in Central America

In Central America, health officials in El Salvador reported 212 more suspected or confirmed cases, boosting its total so far to 1,520, according to PAHO.

Elsewhere, El Salvador remains under a national emergency with thousands of suspected cases, PAHO said. It added that the outbreak is still expanding, having reached Central and South America. Over the past several weeks, three South American countries have reported local chikungunya cases: Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana.

So far it’s unclear if a confirmed case in Costa Rica is local or imported, and health officials in Venezuela aren’t sure if all 12 chikungunya cases detected there are imported, the ECDC said. Guatemala is investigating a possible case, the agency added.

According to PAHO’s update, the number of deaths in the outbreak held steady at 21.

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