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Saturday, July 19, 2014

CHIKUNGUNYA HAS ARRIVED

It was almost nine years ago that I embarked on a monumental trip that took me to the Indian Ocean and Europe.  Twenty-eight hours and two overnights from Honolulu to Los Angeles to Paris, then finally Reunion Island.

When I got there I was exhausted, had contracted a cold, it was raining and immediately learned that a mosquito-borne disease, Chikungunya (CHIKV), had attained epidemic status.  Ultimately, by the end of 2006, 272,000 people were infected just in Reunion and Mauritius (and I also spent some time here on this trip).  Click on Concorde Bellepierre Hotel, (left) which served as my haven away from mosquitos.  In desperation, ingenuity surfaces, and this was one of the best moves I ever made in my life.  I might add that the disease spread to Italy in 2007 and France in 2010.

To quote:

CHIKV is transmitted similarly to dengue fever and causes an illness with an acute febrile phase lasting two to five days, followed by a longer period of joint pains in the extremities; this pain may persist for years in some cases.[2][3]

Further:

During the La Reunion outbreak in 2006, greater than 50% of subjects over the age of 45 reported long term musculoskeletal pain[12] with up to 60% of patients reporting prolonged arthralgia 3 years following initial infection.[13] 

Older patients are more severely affected.  Unlike dengue, which now might have a vaccine, there is none for CHIKV.  


While the Aedes aegypti (left) mosquito is mostly associated with this ailment, it was reported that the Asian Tiger Mosquito (Aedes albopictus, right) was mainly responsible for that Reunion epidemic.  Both are found in Hawaii, which leads to the fact that Chikungunya has arrived in Florida.  Seven months ago this was the risk area:


Now, for the first time, two non-travelling local residents in Florida were diagnosed with Chikungunya.  Scarily enough, just this year thus far, there have been 243 travel-associated cases reported in 31 states and two territories.

It is just a matter of time when a contagious person  (this febrile period is up to 7 days) comes to Hawaii, is bitten by one of these two types of mosquitos here, thus then spreading the ailment to the next person who provides them a meal.  Then, CHIKV will never go away.  When I was in Reunion, I was told that if you contract Chikungunya a second time, the pain is much worse.  On the other hand, recent reports indicate that there is life-long immunity after the first infection.  

TOMORROW, BEING THE SABBATH, I COMPLETE THE SERIES ON TRANSITIONS WITH "MY FINAL TRANSITION."
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Typhoon Rammasun is stilll a Category 3 at 115 MPH and is now over Mainland China close to the Vietnam border.  However, Typhoon Matmo, only at 75 MPH, is east of  the Philippines, but will strengthen at least up to a Category 3, and storm right through the middle of Taiwan:


Most of these storms start at around the same general region, but some go northwest towards Taiwan and Japan, but many go west to the Philippines.  Will need to check on why.

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