Saturday, February 28, 2015

Chikungunya in the US: two months into 2015

I predicted that chik would become an issue in the US and be as much as a problem as West Nile virus. The two are related viruses and share the same vectors (common mosquitoes) so you could potentially be coinfected (that would suck). In 2014, there were only a few locally acquired cases in the US. There have been no local cases in 2015 so far - BUT - it's winter. And winter means the vectors are asleep in much of the US and this winter in particular means they are sleeping even farther south than normal. I suspect we'll have a number of local cases this year in the southeast - most likely Florida. 

Two months into 2015 and there has been 43 cases of chik in travelers coming back to the US. These cases have been peppered across the US (see figure) but the majority have been in Florida (n=12) and New York (n=9). I have not seen where these cases were identified to their origin. There has been one local case in the US Virgin Islands so we can assume it is established there. 

Map of the United States showing travel-associated cases reported in Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington

Cases, outside the US

Costa Rica: 121 
El Salvador 138,617 
French Guiana 12,308
Puerto Rico 24,281
Antigua + Barbados + Cayman + Jamaica 5000

So here's a prediction: we'll see a spike next month as spring breakers go down to the islands to escape the heat and Florida thaws. 

Fun, fun, fun. 

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