Lisa Schnirring at CIDRAP has a big story: Caribbean chikungunya cases top 170,000. Excerpt:
The number of chikungunya cases in parts of the Caribbean continued to surge last week, pushing past 170,000 cases, with the first cases confirmed in El Salvador, west of the main outbreak area, and more imported cases detected in the United States and other countries.
The outbreak has grown to 170,566 suspected or confirmed cases of the mosquito-borne disease, which is 35,139 higher than the 135,427 cases reported the previous week, according to a June 13 report from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). The number of deaths remained the same, at 14.
Over the past few weeks, most new cases are suspected infections reported from the Latin Caribbean countries, such as the Dominican Republic, where suspected cases rose from 52,976 to 77,320 last week. Guadaloupe and Martinique also reported thousands of new cases, but no new case totals were given for Haiti, another country that has recently been hard hit by the outbreak.
In the non-Latin areas that were mainly affected earlier in the outbreak, new cases were reported by Dominica, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and the US Virgin Islands.
The outbreak started in December on the French side of St. Martin. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said Jun 13 in its weekly communicable disease threat update that nearly 150,000 probable and confirmed cases have been reported in the region, which was lower than PAHO's total. It added that most of the affected areas continue to report more cases, but especially Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
The ECDC said the outbreak in still expanding, and it urged health officials to be vigilant for imported cases in tourists returning from the Caribbean.
El Salvador reports first cases
Elsewhere, health officials in El Salvador on Jun 14 confirmed that the virus is spreading in the country, with at least 1,200 people who have been diagnosed with the disease, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.
El Salvador appears to be the westernmost area to be affected by the outbreak. Unlike other affected areas, it is in Central America and is located on the Pacific Ocean, not on the Caribbean Sea.
The country's health minister Violete Menjivar, MD, said the positive tests will be confirmed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). She told a state-run TV station that cases were found just outside of San Salvador, the country's capital.