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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

BU Report Finds Chikungunya Virus Spreads in Western Hemisphere

A virus initially reported in Tanzania that has spread rapidly through the Caribbean and Central and South America could spread further in the continental United States, which already has seen more than 1,600 cases, according to a new report in the Annals of Internal Medicine co-authored by a Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researcher.

Dr. Davidson Hamer, professor of global health at BUSPH and a researcher with the BU Center for Global Health and Development, reported that chikungunya, a mosquito-borne viral pathogen responsible for a febrile illness that is usually accompanied by a rash and severe joint pain, has claimed 153 lives so far, with more than 900,000 suspected cases and 14,700 confirmed cases, many of them in the Dominican Republic and El Salvador.

He and co-author Dr. Lin Chen recommended that clinicians advise patients to use antivector measures when traveling to regions with transmission, and to consider chikungunya in the diagnosis of febrile travelers with joint pain and rashes who have visited the Caribbean and Central or South America.

“The effect of chikungunya virus in travelers since its recent arrival in the Western hemisphere underscores the interconnectedness of the continental United States, the Caribbean, and Central and South America,” they wrote.

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