The painful, mosquito-borne chikungunya virus has reached the US

Sunday, July 20, 2014
By Paul Martin

by Susannah Locke
July 19, 2014

A virus called chikungunya, which is transmitted by mosquitoes, has been an epidemic in the Caribbean in recent months. And this week, officials reported the first cases of people getting it on US soil.

The disease is rarely lethal, but causes fever and joint pain. Sometimes that pain can last for quite a while. And the virus’s recent, fast spread to the Western Hemisphere has public health experts concerned.

Here’s what you need to know.
What kind of a name is chikungunya?

First of all, this has nothing to do with chickens. The name comes from the Kimakonde language, which is spoken in Tanzania, where the disease was first identified in 1952. It roughly means “to become contorted,” because it can cause arthritis-type pain that makes people hunch over. (Usually, such pain is temporary.) It’s pronounced chickun (sort of like the bird) GUN (like the weapon) yuh. Here’s an audio clip of how to say it.

The Rest…HERE

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