Web Zap*Germs Archive

February 21, 2006

Chikungunya Disease Kills Girl, Infects 100K

Chikungunya, a mosquito-borne disease, has hit over 100,000 people on the Indian Ocean island of Reunion, and has been linked to the death of a 10-year-old girl.

The child's death was "very probably" connected to the chikungunya disease, according to Antoine Perrin, head of the regional hospitals department, who said further tests were being carried out for confirmation. She was the second child whose death has been linked to the disease.

Chikungunya -- a Swahili word meaning "that which bends up" -- can cause painful swelling of body joints, leaving victims stooped and limiting their movements. Symptoms eventually disappear over time. There is no vaccine.

Chikungunya has been directly connected to the deaths of four people -- including the two children -- and indirectly to the deaths of 48 others on the French island.

The painful disease has spread to 110,000 people, or more than one in eight of the island's population, and authorities there are battling to eradicate the mosquitos that transmit the virus. More than a thousand people have also been affected in the Seychelles and several hundred in Mauritius.


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