Thursday, October 23, 2014

Chikungunya, eh?

 by Joe
            What’s the buzz aboot in Canada? Well, not the mosquitos, but mosquito-borne Togavirus that causes rashes, aches and fatigue among other symptoms (including hemorrhaging in rare instances). Health Canada recently reported that more than 200 Canadians were infected, most likely while traveling. The Caribbean suffered an outbreak earlier this year in which almost 200,000 people became infected. Saint Martin, a Francophone Island, was one of the islands affected.

Luckily, Aedes mosquitos aren’t native to Canada, but this kind of incident makes one wonder what it takes for these mosquitos to get into the country, and for a virus to get established. All these mosquitos have to do is get into the country with some infected travelers, and technically they could infect other people. The CDC has an interactive map that shows the spread of Chikungunya in the Western Hemisphere since last December.

The mosquitos (or at least their eggs) have to survive winters, which is a formidable task in Canada.
How can we prevent this? Should we fumigate all planes and cargo like airlines going to Hawaii and the Galápagos do? Airlines are all worried about Ebola, but they don’t seem to be too concerned about Chikungunya.

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