In our highly connected world, diseases that have been considered exotic may soon reach nearby areas. The World Health Organization is reporting that chikungunya virus, transmitted by mosquito bites, has reached the Caribbean islands. Previously this virus was found in Asia and Africa, but not in the Americas.
The symptoms include headache, high fever and joint pain that can be debilitating. The only known way to fight back against chikungunya is to avoid mosquito bites or control the mosquitoes. Both are theoretically possible but difficult to achieve. The mosquitoes that transmit chikungunya virus already live in many parts of the US, so it may be only a matter of time before health authorities here are fighting its spread.