On a truly amazing news day, Lisa Schnirring at CIDRAP has a fine report: US reports first locally acquired chikungunya cases. After summarizing the situation, the report continues:
The announcement today comes about 7 months after the first chikungunya cases were detected in the Western Hemisphere, the CDC said. The outbreak in the Caribbean region has sickened more than 355,000 people, with the number of new infections continuing to grow by roughly 40,000 cases each week.
As a ripple effect, the United States—especially in Florida—and several other countries have reported a rising number of cases in travelers returning from outbreak areas, and health officials have boosted surveillance for the disease and warned that an infected patient can transmit the virus to mosquitoes, which can then transmit the disease to others through a bite.
Roger Nasci, PhD, chief of the CDC's arboviral diseases branch, said in a statement that the arrival of the virus on the US mainland underscores the risk of this and other exotic pathogens. "This emphasizes the importance of CDC's health security initiatives designed to maintain effective surveillance networks, diagnostic laboratories, and mosquito control programs both in the United States and around the world."
The CDC said the chikungunya virus is transmitted by two mosquito species, Aedes aegypti and A albopictus, both of which are found in the southeastern part of the country and in some parts of the southwest. It said A albopictus is found farther north up the East Coast, through the Middle Atlantic states, and in the lower part of the Midwest.
CDC officials said it's not clear how the disease will spread in the United States, but they said the pattern might look like the dengue virus, with sporadic local transmission that doesn't trigger widespread outbreaks.