First there was West Nile virus and then dengue on our doorstep. Now it’s Chikungunya (pronunciation: \chik-en-gun-ye click to hear pronunciation)- which is a new disease threat in the Western hemisphere. Like dengue, this virus is spread by Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitos, causing fever and severe joint pain 3-7 days after a mosquito bite. There’s no cure- just supportive care.
Over 4,400 confirmed cases have been reported in the Caribbean among 12 different countries and territories, since the first case last December. CDC predicts that the virus will continue to spread throughout the Americas. This week Puerto Rico confirmed the first locally acquired case in the US. In Arizona, we do have Aedes aegypti mosquitos in Cochise, Graham, Maricopa, Pima, Pinal, Santa Cruz, Yavapai, and Yuma counties… so chikungunya and dengue could spread if either of them get a toe-hold.