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Reporting of new U.S. chikungunya cases slows

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The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released the latest data about the spread of chikungunya in the United States on Aug. 27. The reports from 43 states and the District of Columbia show a total of 696 cases of the mosquito borne illness. Only six patients contracted the virus in the continental United States.

Florida continues to report the greatest numbers of chikungunya illnesses. The state's aborvirus report for Aug. 23 shows 172 travel associated cases and six which were locally acquired. Four of the six locally acquired chikungunya cases were in Palm Beach County.

Since that date, Highlands County has reported a case of imported chikungunya. The 179 total illnesses exceed the CDC report by 32. CDC reporting typically lags local data by a week or more. The two nations on the island of Hispaniola, Haiti and the Dominican Republic, are the source for 88 percent of all Florida's imported chikungunya illnesses.

New York, both the city and state, continue to report the second greatest number of chikungunya illnesses. The state has seen 108 imported cases of the viral illness. New Jersey has diagnosed 62, followed by Massachusetts with 26 and Tennessee at 25.

Puerto Rico continues to report increasing numbers of chikungunya illnesses, confirmed, probable and suspected. The Aug. 22 Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) release for the Western Hemisphere shows the island with 1,012 confirmed chikungunya illnesses and an additional 3,723 suspected cases. These numbers are also much higher than those reported by the CDC.

Chikungunya is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. At this time, only one species of mosquito is known to be a vector for the illness in the Americas. Aedes aegypti, the Yellow Fever mosquito, is a tropical and sub-tropical insect with a limited range of habitat in the United States. It lives close to people, and breeds in containers hold fresh water, such as old tires, cans, unused birdbaths and clogged rain gutters.

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