Spain detects first case of mosquito-borne chikungunya virus

MADRID (AFP) - Spain has detected its first domestic case of the painful mosquito-borne viral disease chikungunya in a 60-year-old man in the eastern province of Valencia, officials said Tuesday.

The man was "most likely" infected in Gandia, a seaside Mediterranean resort, and was treated in hospital last month, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said in a statement.

"This is the first chikungunya case reported from Spain without travel history to endemic areas," the statement said, as all prior reported cases involved people who caught the virus while abroad.

Chikungunya, more commonly found in Africa and Asia, is spread by two mosquito species, and is typically not fatal.

But it can cause debilitating symptoms including fever, headache and severe joint pain lasting months.

The word chikungunya, from the East African Kimakonde language, translates loosely as contorted or hunched over from pain.

Last year, there were 266 recorded cases of chikungunya in Spain, all imported, according to the National Epidemiology Centre, a unit of the health ministry.

The first case of domestic transmission of the disease in Europe happened in Italy in 2007.