BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Thursday October 16, 2014, AMG - Chikungunya (CHIKV) was detected for the first time in the western hemisphere in December 2013 and has since swept across the Caribbean causing increasing sickness and economic disruption. The number of people infected across the Americas now stands at more than 13,180 people as confirmed by laboratory testing with an additional 739,400 suspected cases. Here’s what you should know about CHIKV.
What is CHIKV and where did it come from?
CHIKV is caused by a virus belonging to the alphavirus genus of the family Togaviridae and is made up of a single strand of RNA (rather than the familiar DNA double helix). This means it’s able to replicate inside human and mosquito cells and causes sickness by corrupting their regular DNA. CHIKV is genetically similar to Ross River Virus (RRV) and O’nyong’nyong virus (ONNV) and has been diagnosed in almost 40 countries mainly in tropical and subtropical regions across the world. Continue reading