The Chinkungunya virus killed 25 people in Colombia, the country’s National Health Institute (NHI) said Monday, contradicting President Juan Manuel Santos’ claims it was not lethal.
The NHI analyzed 43 separate cases in 11 municipalities of Chikungunya.
The northern Norte de Santander province has been the most affected by the virus, having had 10 deaths over the course of only one year.
“This is a phenomenon that is controllable; it is not lethal; that is to say, nobody has died from Chikungunya,” said Santos in a speech in Cundinamarca in January.
Santos advised against using bug spray and encouraged the use of fumigation instead, claiming that mosquitoes would develop an immunity to the chemicals if people relied too heavily on bug spray.
Months later, during the week of Semana Santa, several foreigners complained of there being a shortage of available bug repellents and insecticides, reported Colombian newspaper Semana.
According to the Pan American Health Organization website, “There is no specific treatment for chikungunya infection, nor any vaccine to prevent it. Pending the development of a new vaccine, the only effective means of prevention is to protect individuals against mosquito bites.”
There was also reportedly a shortage of acetaminophen to treat symptoms, which include high fever, joint and muscle pain, and headache.
There have been a total of approximately 200,000 cases since the virus’s discovery, and 17 more deaths are currently being investigated, according medical research website Medical Xpress.
Chikungunya first appeared in South America in July 2014, and has also been an issue of concern in the neighboring countries of Venezuela, Ecuador, and Brazil.
Nadie se muere del chikungunya: Santos (Caracol)
Chikungunya kills 25 in Colombia (Medical Xpress)
Chikungunya virus kills 25 in Colombia (Yahoo News)