First case of Chikungunya virus reported in Colombia

(Photo: Cuba Hora)

The first Colombian case of a mosquito-transmitted virus called Chikungunya was reported last week in the southwestern city of Cali, local media reports.

The virus was detected in a 71-year old woman traveling from her home in the Dominican Republic who had already been diagnosed with the disease in her native country, according to Cali-based newspaper El Pais.

The virus was confirmed by Colombia’s National Health Institute after blood tests, while the Secretary of Health of the state of Valle del Cauca reassured locals, “this is an imported case, because she acquired it in another country. Until now, we have not detected a single case that has been contracted in Colombia.”

Chikungunya, meaning “to bend up” in reference to the joint pain the virus causes, was originally transmitted to humans in southern Tanzania in 1952.

The virus transmitted by mosquitoes and symptoms similar to that of dengue fever, such as fever, joint pain, muscle pain, headaches, nausea, lethargy and hives. Despite the symptoms, the World Health Organization claims that the virus is rarely ever fatal, although symptoms can last for years in some cases.

The virus is most often found in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Indian subcontinent and southeast Asia, while cases in the Americas have been few and far between.


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