This time of year is best known for Christmas trees, carols and eggnog. Some people are singing along to “Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!” while others are saying “Forget that!” and heading south for the holiday season to soak up a little more sun and warm temperatures. We fully support any plan that involves sunshine and warm air, but we wanted to give you a few tips for traveling to southern areas, like the Caribbean, where chikungunya is prevalent.
Exactly one year after the mosquito borne virus made its first appearance in the Western hemisphere last December, the virus that has spread throughout the Americas has topped the 1 million case mark, according to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) this past Friday. Originating in Africa, the virus has rapidly spread into the Caribbean and Central and South Americas, with cases in the United States as well. In the past, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) would only see an average of 28 cases of chikungunya in the United States brought by travelers who had visited affected countries (primarily in Asia), but so far in 2014 there’s been over 1,900 recorded cases stateside. While rarely fatal, the disease can be painful with joint pain, high fever and muscle pain.
If you are traveling to a country where chikungunya is transmitted by mosquitoes, take precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Wear long sleeves and avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active (dusk and dawn). As always Mosquito Joe will keep you updated on all new information when it comes to Chikungunya, and travel safely this holiday season!