Sunday, January 4, 2015

Happy Chikungunya Year 

While Chikungunya has been appearing in the news often during Fall 2014 because of the numerous cases in the US, it gained increasing popularity in the beginning of the new year because Lindsay Lohan contracted the disease in French Polynesia and used social media to inform her fans of this fact. It seems that nowadays, a virus’ claim to fame is through the world of entertainment. An advice to viruses that want to be made known worldwide is to infect a celebrity who has millions of Instagram followers. Lohan herself has 2.5 million followers. Numerous articles were written about Lohan’s infection, including an article in the celebrity section of New York Times. Lindsay Lohan posted empowering messages such as “I refuse to let a virus affect my peaceful vacation."

Many articles have been published about the virus recently because of the end of year assessments of its damage in the Americas, the Carribean.  Whereas previously Chikungunya infection was limited to Asia and Africa, the virus appeared for the first time in the Western Hemisphere in December 2013 when several cases were reported. In the year 2014, more than a million cases were reported in the Western Hemisphere and more than two thousand cases were recorded in the US. Many predict huge outbreaks in 2015 in Florida due to it being a state visited by many people from the Caribbean and Central America. Numerous have indicated that the virus has gained a toehold in the US foreshadowing a dim Chikungunya filled future.

By Mariam Kyarunts

No comments: