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WiredJa Online News

British tourists warned of Chikungunya in the Caribbean

LONDON, Nov. 16, – London's Daily Mail newspaper is reporting that “British tourists in the Caribbean are being struck down by a debilitating and potentially deadly virus carried by mosquitoes.

According to the Mail, "an unprecedented outbreak of the Chikungunya virus is affecting islands including Barbados, St. Lucia and the (St. Vincent) Grenadines, where many UK holidaymakers flock during the festive season.” 

The paper said thousands have been hit by the illness, which leaves victims bedridden for days, and the “more vulnerable victims have died.”

“Yesterday, there were fears that British tourists may not realize the dangers until it is too late, amid reports that tour operators are playing down the problem,” the report continued.

Chikungunya, which is contracted through mosquito bites, causes a sudden onset of fever and agonizing joint pain, particularly affecting the hands, wrists, ankles and feet.

British tourists and expats are among hundreds of thousands of cases reported since the beginning of the outbreak last year.

The Caribbean Public Health Agency reports that as of last month, a total of 739,410 suspected cases and 118 deaths have been reported in the Caribbean and the Americas.

But health officials warned the true numbers could be higher as some countries have been slow in testing and reporting.

Chikungunya was first reported in the region by the World Health Organization (WHO) last December.

It is is a viral disease transmitted by infected female mosquitoes with symptoms including high fever, headaches, rashes and severe joint pain.

There is no vaccine or cure and treatment is focused on relieving the symptoms.

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