The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released the latest data on the number of reported chikungunya cases in the United States July 16. The data, through July 15, revealed 234 imported cases of the mosquito borne illness and 123 locally acquired cases for a U.S. total of 357. All of the locally acquired cases were reported from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Florida continues to report the highest number of cases. The CDC report shows 73 imported chikungunya cases. The weekly surveillance data from the state for the week ending July 12 has 81 cases. Since then, the media and local health departments have reported two additional illnesses. The vast majority of the illnesses in Florida, 94 percent, were contracted in Haiti or the Dominican Republic.
New York has now reported the second highest total of imported cases with 20. Tennessee has 13 chikungunya illnesses, followed by New Jersey with 12 and California with 11. The CDC report does not include five chikungunya cases in Alabama, which WBRC reported in a piece on July 8.
There have been no locally acquired chikungunya cases in the continental United States. The Virgin Islands is reporting a handful. Puerto Rico reported 121 to the CDC. The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) was notified by the Commonwealth that there were an additional 301 suspected chikungunya cases on the island for its July 11 report.
Chikungunya was introduced into the Americas for the first time in Dec. 2013. It can only be transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito and there is only one species known to be carrying the current strain of the illness, the Aedes aegypti or Yellow Fever mosquito. There is no cure and no vaccine. The illness can be severe but is very rarely fatal.
Since the viral illness was first detected, it has spread to many of the islands of the Caribbean as well as to some of the countries on the Central and South American mainland. The PAHO report of July 11 totaled 355,617 confirmed or suspected chikungunya cases and did not include the cases in the continental U.S.