Mar 17, 2006

Chikungunya Epidemic Devastates Reunion Island


(Reunion Island) A debilitating mosquito-borne disease has hit the French Indian Ocean island of Reunion in the past few weeks. The viral fever has claimed 148 lives, and almost a third of the population has been stricken on the tourism-dependent island.

The death toll of 148 amounted to people whose death was directly or indirectly the result of contracting chikungunya, the French health monitoring institute said on Friday.

A total of 212,000 people have likely fallen ill with the disease in the course of the epidemic, out of a total population of 777,000.

The symptoms of chikungunya include a fever that can reach 103°F, a hemorrhagic rash that usually seen on the limbs and trunk, and a form of arthritis that affects multiple joints which can be debilitating. Patients can can also suffer headaches, conjunctival injections and photophobia.

The name chikungunya, which is believed to have originated in Africa, has its derivation in a Swahili word meaning "that which bends up;" afflicted patients develop a tendency toward stooping. Chikungunya is caused by an alphavirus that is spread by mosquito bites from the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which also transmits yellow fever.

Cases of chikungunya have also been discovered in the nearby French island of Mayotte, as well as in the islands of Madagascar, Mauritius and the Seychelles. Some Reunionnais who have emigrated to mainland France have also been diagnosed with the disease.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Hope it doesn't travel here.

historymike said...

Seems to be a tropical disease, anonymous. However, this strain of chikungunya seems to be a bit more dangerous than other varieties.

Of course, no one wanted to believe that West Nile virus could adapt to a temperate climate like the US, either, so who really knows.

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historymike said...

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Hooda Thunkit said...

Looks like Nature (God) is thinning the herd again.

Could it be that this planet has reached its' sustainable population limit?

Or, are we somehow influencing this be squandering our resources and polluting our invironment?

Oh well, when we succomb, the earth will heal itself and once again be a ture Paradise.

Anonymous said...

This is a diease which has seemingly come from nowhere, my wife and 5 year old daughter are currently infected by it, and my heart goes out to anyone who has it, it is nasty painfull and worrying, after infection it can diapear then strick again weeks later. I am an english man living in the indian ocean with my family.

I hope soon a cure can be found, it breaks your heart to see a child infected with it and not be able to do anything about it.

For those of us who can aford medication we can lighten the symptoms a bit, but i feel sorry for the poor communities who cannot afford medication at all