KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) - Scientists say a viral disease first detected in
Africa that is spread to people by infected mosquitoes is being locally
transmitted in the Americas for the first time.
Government epidemiologists in St. Martin said Tuesday they’ve confirmed
about a dozen cases of locally acquired chikungunya virus in the tiny French
Caribbean dependency. The World Health Organization says there are more
suspected cases. The illness usually does not lead to fatalities. But there
is no vaccine for it, and it can cause a debilitating sickness with intense
muscle and joint pain, fever, rash, fatigue and vomiting.
St. Martin Vice President Guillaume Arnell says “it started here so we have
to contain it here.”
St. Martin shares a tiny island with Dutch St. Maarten. Health officials on
both sides of the island are responding to the outbreak.