Chikungunya Virus Infection in Pakistan (ex India)
29 Dec 2016
On 26 December 2016 the media reported that an outbreak of chikungunya virus in Karachi (Pakistan) has been linked with an outbreak in India a few months ago. In October 2016 a chikungunya outbreak was reported in India, however, no mosquito control measures were taken at airports, railway stations, or the Pakistan-India border. This demonstares how poor mostquito control measures can lead to spread of mosquito borne diseases.
An earlier media report of 22 December 2016 asserted that a total of 3 cases of the chikungunya virus have been confirmed in the provincial capital of Sindh (Pakistan). Approximately 30 000 people are suffering from symptoms similar to thoses caused by chikungunya, and although not proven, it is suspected that many of these cases may have chikungunya virus.
In response health experts are urging people to protect themselves from mosquito bites and undertake mosquito control activities in their homes and surrounding areas.
Advice for Travellers
No vaccine is available against Chikungunya. Avoidance of mosquito bites is the only reliable means of prevention. Methods of bite avoidance include:
- Wearing long, loose, lightly coloured clothing to cover up the skin.
- The use of insect repellant containing DEET applied to any exposed skin.
- The use of permethrin, impregnated mosquito nets.
- The use of air conditioning if available and/or mesh screening of windows and doors.
- Eradication of mosquito breeding sites around the home (e.g. open containers, old tyres or flower pots that may collect water).