Published On: Wed, May 6th, 2015

New form of Chikungunya detected

Chikungunya virusWILLEMSTAD - The Curaçao Health Department warns of the emergence of a virus like chikungunya on the island. The zica virus currently makes people sick in Brazil. This is according to information received from the World Health Organization.

The symptoms are the same as chikungunya and dengue: high fever, joint pains and rash. Epidemiologist Izzy Gerstenbluth is aware of the threat, but points out that there is still research to be done to definitively establish whether it is the zica virus. If so, then it is the first time that the zica virus has been detected in the Americas. The virus was first described in 1952 by scientists who were doing research in Uganda.

In the first test the virus was already detected. It’s particularly with people between twenty and forty years of age who are infected. In February, they discovered the first cases in the northern states of Brazil. Patients complained of itching, fever, headache, swelling of the hands and feet and muscle pain. There are no recorded deaths yet.

The epidemiologist points out that an outbreak is possible in Curaçao. He advises people to take precautions just as they did with chikungunya and dengue. “We must make sure that there are no breeding grounds, because the zica virus is also spread by a mosquito. Furthermore, we must protect ourselves by wearing pants and long sleeves. Also, we must be careful with going outside at times when mosquitoes bite. Once a person is infected, he or she will remain sick for two to seven days,” said epidemiologist Izzy Gerstenbluth.

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