Chikungunya infections in Caribbean countries spiked last week, led by quickly growing numbers mainly in the Latin parts of the region, according to the latest update from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
Also two new countries—Barbados and Chile—are investigating their first suspected or confirmed imported cases, according to media and infectious disease reporting system sources.
The outbreak of the mosquito-borne disease has now reached 107,424 suspected or confirmed cases, which is 41,204 higher than the 66,220 cases reported the previous week, PAHO said in a May 30 update. It reported 1 more death from the disease, edging the total to 14.
PAHO’s numbers are higher than reported in today’s communicable disease threat update from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), especially for the Dominican Republic. PAHO said the country has had a massive jump, from 8,058 suspected cases on May 23 to 38,639 on May 30. In contrast, the ECDC lists 8,017 suspected cases in the Dominican Republic.
PAHO said suspected chikungunya cases in Haiti rose from 3,460 the week before to 6,312 last week. The ECDC, which does not list suspected cases for Haiti, reports 632 confirmed cases in the country. Its numbers for both countries did not change from the previous week’s report.
Haiti’s health ministry said infections in the country have reached 15,000, according to a report yesterday from Haiti Libre.
The ECDC in its update said the number of new cases last week grew in a handful of countries, including Dominica, where infections rose from 1,578 suspected cases to 1,817; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, where suspected and confirmed cases climbed from 27 to 167; and St. Kitts and Nevis, where confirmed cases rose from 1 to 21.
The ECDC reports only 63,889 confirmed, probable, or suspected cases for the region.
Suspected cases in Barbados
Elsewhere, Barbados’ health ministry is investigating seven suspected cases, including two in people who had just returned from Dominica, according to a May 31 report from the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC).
Samples from the patients were sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency for testing on May 29, according to the report.
Chile reports first imported case
In Chile, health officials have confirmed the country’s first case, in a 49-year-old woman who had visited the Dominican Republic between Apr 29 and May 6, according to a ProMED Mail post today submitted by Cecilia Perret, MD, a pediatrician and infectious disease specialist in Santiago, Chile. ProMED Mail is the online reporting system of the International Society for Infectious Diseases.
Perret said on May 9 the patient came down with a low-grade fever and intense pain in her wrists, interphalangeal joints, ankles, and knees. The woman also had a rash on her limbs that lasted 2 days.
Perret said the first sample taken on day 2 of the patient’s illness was negative for chikungunya and dengue, but an indirect immunofluorescence assay on day 6 was positive.