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mosquitoMany will remember the Dengue Fever outbreaks in the Florida Keys a couple of years ago, but a similar mosquito-borne virus ground-zeroed in awesome St. Maarten threatens to become a far bigger health problem in the Americas than Dengue, if you believe Yale University professor Dr. Durland Fish.  It’s called Chikungunya, and like Dengue, symptoms include high fevers, severe joint pain, and a host of other nastiness.  Also like Dengue it is rarely fatal, and there is no vaccine.  Chikungunya has been known to spread further and faster than Dengue including in more temperate climates, leading Yale to call for major attention from the CDC – attention the outbreak is not yet getting.  “An outbreak of chikungunya on French-owned Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean during 2005 caused 255,000 cases, over one-third of the entire population, within one year. Since the Reunion outbreak, chikungunya has appeared in India causing millions of cases and in Italy, which has a temperate climate,” Fish notes.  Too bad more people didn’t pay attention to this article in the New Yorker…

Should you cancel your trip to one of the most excellent destinations in the Caribbean?  Get into the thread to make your own decision.  We think a liberal daily dose of DEET tempered by a larger dose of rum should cover you for now, and instead of sleeping aboard in nasty, foul Simpson Bay Lagoon, get a room or anchor outside in the usually nice sea breeze.

 

January 10th, 2014

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