Monday, February 23, 2015

Chikungunya thrives with climate variability in the Caribbean

Jewel Fraser in IPS: ...According to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), as of Feb. 7 this year, there were a total of 4,485 confirmed/probable cases of chikungunya, and just over 87,000 suspected cases in CARPHA’s 24 member states comprising Caribbean nations. Throughout the Americas, with the exception of the U.S., there were more than 800,000 suspected cases. There were 21,000 confirmed or probable cases including figures for the United States.

The illness, which is borne by two types of mosquitoes, is transmitted by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito in the Caribbean, said Dr. Dave Chadee, an entomologist and professor of environmental health at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, in Trinidad.

...Prof Chadee told IPS that a mosquito feeding on the blood of an infected person would pick up the virus. The virus would then multiply in the vector’s digestive system before passing through the peritrophic membrane into its circulatory system from where it would migrate to the salivary gland of the mosquito next to the proboscis. From there, the virus would then be transmitted to a human victim when the mosquito takes its next blood meal.

A number of factors have contributed to the rapid transmission of the virus in the Caribbean over the past year, said Chadee, including climate variability. Climate variability has contributed to higher temperatures as well as heavy rains and flooding in some parts of the Caribbean, including, most notably within the past 15 months, the Christmas floods in the Eastern Caribbean in December 2013. Such conditions make the seasonal pattern of the disease an issue in its transmission, Chadee said...

CDC photo of a mosquito

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