Wednesday, April 16th 2014 - 04:36 UTC

Warnings of 'catastrophic' Chikungunya epidemic; fears it could spread during the World Cup

A team of French and Brazilian researchers warn that chikungunya virus is poised to invade, and become epidemic in the Americas according to research published ahead of print in the Journal of Virology.

The virus is transmitted by the same dengue Aedes aegypti mosquito

 Chikungunya was first reported last December in St. Martin and now has spread to nine additional Caribbean countries

 The risk of a “catastrophic” epidemic in the Americas is boosted by the coming FIFA World Cup, to be held in Brazil next month, what with people coming in from near and from far, says corresponding author Ricardo Lourenco-de-Oliveira of the Instituto Oswaldo Cruz in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Brazil annually reports the highest incidence of dengue, a virus that is transmitted by Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, the same mosquitoes that transmit chikungunya, he warns.

The basis of his worries is the study, in which he and his collaborators compared the ability of 35 populations of the two Aedes species to transmit three different genotypes of chikungunya. These populations ranged all over the Americas from Buenos Aires to Tyson, Missouri (near St. Louis.) Even in temperate Missouri, A. albopictus was found to have a high dissemination and transmission ability for two of the three chikungunya genotypes.

Chikungunya can cause severe joint pain, which can sometimes lead to permanent disability, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Mortality has been known to reach 1/1000. The virus’ name reflects the condition of many of the stricken, “bent down or become contorted,” in the Tanzanian Makonda language.

Transmission of chikungunya was first reported in the Americas in December of last year, on the Caribbean island of St. Martin. By February 5th, the disease had spread to nine additional Caribbean countries.

“The danger of chikungunya virus spreading all over the tropical, subtropical, and even temperate regions of the Americas is a risk greater than ever,” says Lourenco-de-Oliveira. “Our results showed that the [Americas are] very receptive and vulnerable to CHIKV [chikungunya virus] transmission, and extremely exposed to the occurrence of an immediate chikungunya epidemic, since most regions are highly infested with both vectors.

14 comments Feed

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1 Troy Tempest (#) Apr 16th, 2014 - 04:58 am Report abuse
From reading this article then, is one to conclude that the disease coinciding with a huge influx of visitors from around the globe, has a potential to spread very quickly to all regions of the world, and spread further from there?

No wonder health authorities are alarmed.

Mind you, if the airports aren't ready anyway, and high crime targeting tourists, visitor numbers will not be as high as expected.
2 ChrisR (#) Apr 16th, 2014 - 10:55 am Report abuse
Put's a whole new meaning on “Take a little of Brazil back home with you”.
3 LEPRecon (#) Apr 16th, 2014 - 03:18 pm Report abuse
@1 Troy

Indeed. In fact the world is way overdue for some sort of pandemic, which is why whenever a new strain of a virus (swine flu/bird flu/SARS), the WHO tend to go a bit overboard.

Normally there is a pandemic every 30-40 years or so. The last true pandemic (which killed over 50 million people worldwide) was the Spanish flu strain that hit in 1918, although the H1N1 strain of flu was declared a pandemic because it affected people in over 206 countries and caused over 6,000 deaths around the world. It fortunately didn't have the impact of the 1918 event, probably due to better understanding of how disease spreads, the use of influenza vaccines, anti-virals, and better medical care added to modern technology making it easier to get Public Health messages out.

Lets hope that this disease doesn't spread.
4 Troy Tempest (#) Apr 16th, 2014 - 06:19 pm Report abuse

Cancel the WC - they're not ready yet, anyway
5 Brasileiro (#) Apr 16th, 2014 - 07:33 pm Report abuse
England does not rule the world. No more.

6 Jack Bauer (#) Apr 16th, 2014 - 09:34 pm Report abuse
@5 Brasileiro ..“”England does not rule the world. No more....hahaha“” Are we supposed to laugh ?? what the hell does that have to do with 'dengue' and 'chikungunya' ??
Do you realize what a fool you make of yourself ? obviously not.
And, I suppose you think that Brazil will one day rule the world ? With the current government, it can't even rule itself...but I'm sure YOU will vote for Dilma....again....that's right, just make sure you don't lose your “bolsa família”...
7 Brasileiro (#) Apr 16th, 2014 - 11:38 pm
Comment removed by the editor.
8 Clyde15 (#) Apr 17th, 2014 - 09:15 am Report abuse
I think you are somewhat self deluded to the nth degree !!
9 yankeeboy (#) Apr 17th, 2014 - 01:33 pm Report abuse
Ack, what a horrible place.
10 Jack Bauer (#) Apr 17th, 2014 - 05:59 pm Report abuse
Don't know what Brasileiro posted in @7 to have it removed , but must have been some of his usual sh*t.....In view of one or two of his more recent posts which gave the impression he might be “recuperable”, I was prepared to cut him some slack....but by the look of it, he's gone back to being his idiotic Brazzo, f**k you , sh*thole !!
11 ChrisR (#) Apr 17th, 2014 - 07:05 pm Report abuse
IF this disease becomes endemic in the areas stated and the death rate is 1 in 1,000 then as at least half the planet is too cold for it to survive it still leaves us with 3 million dead.

Or the whole population of Uruguay. Food for thought.
12 Brasileiro (#) Apr 18th, 2014 - 11:55 pm Report abuse
In 2015 I will meet Scotland. Independent.
13 Jack Bauer (#) Apr 19th, 2014 - 06:59 pm Report abuse
@12...keep on dreaming, asshole !!
14 GringaBrazilien (#) Apr 23rd, 2014 - 08:27 am Report abuse
Oh Please - this is getting silly.
What else are the scaremongering media will preposterously come up with against the World Cup?
Martian pitch invasion?
The football will be square?
Enough of this nonsense!

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