HAVANA TIMES — Cuban Health authorities confirmed today that there were on the island at least six confirmed cases of chikungunya, an endemic tropical virus in Africa and parts of Asia whose presence in the Americas was confirmed for the first time in late 2013, reported dpa news.
The patients are “evolving favorably,” said a note from the Cuban Ministry of Public Health published in the official Granma newspaper”. According to the text, those infected are people who frequently traveled to Haiti (5 of them) and the Dominican Republic (1).
The World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organization in December 2013 confirmed the first cases of chikungunya in America, recorded mostly in the Caribbean.
The last report in June included 4,576 confirmed cases, with more than 165,000 suspected. Most infections occurred in Guadeloupe and Martinique, according to the WHO report. Haiti and Dominican Republic also reported cases in recent weeks.
Among other countries where cases of the disease were reported are the United States, Panama, Brazil and Venezuela.
Chikungunya fever is a viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes and causes fever and pain in the joints. Chikungunya means “twisted man” in the Makonde African language, a term used to describe such an ailment.
The disease is rarely fatal. Some symptoms are similar to dengue fever, endemic in several areas of the Caribbean.
The virus was first detected in Tanzania and Uganda in the 50s and is endemic in Africa. Later it spread to several Asian countries. Some cases have also been reported recently in Europe, apparently in connection with travelers spent their vacation in the Caribbean.