“The risk of having more cases of Chikungunya in Yucatan naturally increases during the Summer Vacation holidays due to the great number of people that arrive from other states“, said Dr. Carlos Machaín Williams, Professor at the Unit of Biomedical Sciences of the Autonomous University of Yucatan ( UADY).
“Because the rainy season is here and therefore the presence of the “Aedes aegypti” mosquitoe species, that transmits the dengue virus, as well as the chikungunya virus“, Machaín Williams said in a statement.
“This virus was first detected in Africa, apparently in Kenya, with sporadic outbreaks in Asia. It was on December 2013 when it finally appeared in the islands of the Caribbean,” explained the Infectious Diseases Specialist in an interview for Radio Universidad de Yucatán.
“The chikungunya virus entered Mexican territory last year and the first cases were reported in Chiapas,” said the expert, who noted that. later on, cases occurred in Oaxaca, Michoacan, Colima and Sinaloa, along the Mexican Pacific Coast.
“The transportation of people and merchandise are the main vehicles that carry many diseases,” he said. “According to the nature of the virus, which passes through several periods of incubation in man and in vector phase, it will inevitably make it to Yucatecan soil.”
“In fact, the Dengue virus causes clinical manifestations that may be even more dangerous than Chikungunya. Therefore, we need to keep in mind that older adults with high blood pressure, kidney problems and diabetes are more vulnerable“.
He explained that “the symptoms of dengue and chikungunya are quite similar, except that with chikungunya the cases of arthritis and joint pains can last up to seven months after the fever is gone. It is common to see older people with arthritis and this is the population that has to be much more careful. ”
So far, no Chikungunya cases have been recorded in Yucatan yet, but a few have been detected in Campeche.
“Since the people of Yucatan have not yet been exposed to the Chikungunya virus, the attack rate might be high because the population do not have the necessary antibodies,” Machaín Williams said. “When some people inevitably become infected and thus generate lasting immunity, then the number cases will decrease.”
The doctor said that at the start of the rainy season, the Health Department has yet to notify the public about removing pots, tires and other containers that may collect rain water, in order to prevent mosquitoe breeding.
The specialist recommends that if you suspect you have the virus, do not hesitate and immediately go to see the doctor, to have the necessary tests performed.
“Also, it is important to take all the possible precautions at home to avoid potential victims of mosquitoe bites. Among the most effective mechanisms is the use of mosquitoe screens and insect repellent“.
“Remember that the dengue virus causes clinical manifestations that may be more dangerous than chikungunya. We must keep in mind that older adults with hypertension, kidney problems and diabetes are at greater risk for severe cases, ” concluded Dr. Carlos Machaín Williams.
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