Chikungunya is one of the viruses transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. The symptoms of Chikungunya resemble the symptoms of dengue and Zika. Chikungunya epidemics have been circling the globe since the 1960s, according to Dr. Sergio Cortes. Dr. Cortes is currently the Chief Medical Advisor and Executive Director of Rede D’Or São Luiz in Rio de Janeiro. But Dr. Cortes is a former Director of the State Ministry of Health in Rio de Janeiro, according to a CrunchBase.com article. Chikungunya has not been talked about recently because the 2015 outbreak of the Zika virus is making headline news.
Dr. Cortes told Extra.Globo.com that Chikungunya, dengue, Yellow Fever and Japanese Encephalitis still cause more than 30,000 deaths a year around the globe. Cortes also said more than 600 million people are at risk of being infected with one of those diseases because they live in areas where the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes thrive.
Yellow fever has been a threat for years in tropical and subtropical environments, but there is a Yellow Fever vaccine, according to a post on the Dr. Cortes website. There isn’t a vaccine that can prevent the spread of dengue, Chikungunya, and the Zika virus, and researchers say it may be at least another year before the dengue vaccine is ready for distribution. Japanese encephalitis is another viral infection that has plagued Asia for decades. The virus is transmitted by mosquitoes, and it infects humans, wild birds, and domestic pigs. Japanese encephalitis causes the membranes that surround the brain to swell, and in some cases, the complications from the virus can be lethal. Dr. Cortes sent a tweet to his followers that said cases of Japanese encephalitis are rare in Brazil and other Latin American countries.
There is a lot of focus on mosquito-borne viruses in 2016. The Zika virus outbreak has devastated Brazil, and the virus has spread through Latin America in record-breaking time. Dr. Cortes mentioned a potential outbreak of Zika in the United States in a recent LinkedIn post. A World Health Organization report claims the South and East Coast of the United States could experience a major outbreak of Zika in 2016. The Aedes aegypti mosquito is everywhere in parts of Florida, and other states have a large population of that mosquito species as well.
According to Dr. Cortes, more viral infections are in store for countries around the globe. The warming Earth has a lot to do with the mosquito population growth.