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WHO sees first chikungunya cases in western hemisphere

Published on Dec 11, 2013 8:00 AM

GENEVA (AFP) - Cases of chikungunya have occurred on the Caribbean island of Saint Martin, marking the first time the mosquito-borne disease has spread in the western hemisphere, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Tuesday.

"As of 10 December 2013, altogether two confirmed, four probable and 20 suspected cases of chikungunya infection have been reported," the WHO said in a statement.

"This is the first time that locally acquired transmission of chikungunya has been detected in the WHO Americas Region."

Chikungunya is a viral disease, carried by Aedes mosquitoes, which attacks the joints, causes fever, headaches and arthritic-type symptoms and, in extreme cases, death.

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