Chikungunya: Ethiopia outbreak tops 40,000 cases
(Outbreak News Today) — In a follow-up on the chikungunya outbreak in Dire-Dawa, Ethiopia, health officials report an additional 5,500 cases in the week ending September 15, bringing the outbreak total to 40,340 since late July.
Cases have been reported from all kebeles, or neighborhoods in the Dire Dawa city administration, which has a population of 335,000.
This is the second chikungunya outbreak in Ethiopia, the last was in the summer of 2016.
The outbreak comes at a time when Ethiopia is facing numerous other health emergencies that are stretching the limited resources available, including a humanitarian crisis, malnutrition, cholera, dengue fever and measles outbreaks.
Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes. It causes fever and severe joint pain, which is often debilitating. Other symptoms include muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue, and rash.
The disease shares some clinical signs with dengue and Zika, and can be misdiagnosed in areas where they are common. As there is no cure, treatment is focused on relieving the symptoms.
Chikungunya virus is spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. The most common symptoms of infection are fever and joint pain. Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash. Outbreaks have occurred in countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Indian and Pacific Oceans. In late 2013, chikungunya virus was found for the first time in the Americas on islands in the Caribbean. There is a risk that the virus will be imported to new areas by infected travelers. There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat chikungunya virus infection. Travelers can protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites. When traveling to countries with chikungunya virus, use insect repellent, wear long sleeves and pants, and stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens.