June 2, 2014 – Chikungunya
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ANCHOR LEAD: SHOULD YOU WORRY ABOUT A VIRAL INFECTION IN THE CARIBBEAN? ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Chikungunya is a viral infection originating in Africa that is now making its way around the Caribbean, causing high fevers and joint pain described as paralyzing. Michael Klag, dean of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, says it’s important to understand how the mosquitoes that transmit the infection feed.
KLAG: These mosquitoes are not like the mosquitoes that spread malaria, they bite during the day. So the way to prevent this if you travel to an endemic area is to wear long sleeves, and long pants, and use insect repellant. Stay in a place that either has screens or uses air conditioning. The key is to avoid being bitten by a mosquito. It’s important to seek medical attention to distinguish the condition from dengue, because good clinical treatment of dengue can improve the outcome. :30
Dengue is also found in these islands, so if you return from a visit ill, seek care promptly. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.