Some 17,000 suspected cases of the mosquito-borne disease chikungunya were reported in the southeastern state of Minas Gerais in the first half of 2017. The virus has been detected in nearly 90 cities, most notably Governador Valadares, where more than 11,000 of the cases were reported. Other areas with high case rates include Teófilo Otoni, Medina, and Conselheiro Pena.
Chikungunya is relatively new to the Western hemisphere, first detected in late 2013. The local population as a whole has very little immunity against the virus, increasing risks of large-scale outbreaks.
Symptoms of chikungunya include: fever, headache, joint and muscle ache, fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, and rash. The virus is rarely fatal but potentially debilitating joint pain can last for weeks, even months, after the initial recovery.
It should be noted that various other mosquito-borne diseases are present in Brazil, including dengue fever, the Zika virus, malaria, and yellow fever.
Individuals in Minas Gerais state, as well as elsewhere in Brazil more generally, are advised to take measures to protect themselves from mosquitoes. If you develop symptoms following your return home, make sure your doctor is aware of your travel history.
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