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Case Report Details Risk of Rare Chikungunya Virus

Researchers warn travelers to take precautions when visiting the Indian Ocean islands

MONDAY, July 17 (HealthDay News) -- Travelers who visit the Indian Ocean islands are at risk of contracting the rare Chikungunya virus, which caused 77 deaths in the islands between Jan. 1, 2006 and March 2, 2006, according to a case report published in the July 15 issue of The Lancet.

Patrick Bodenmann, M.D., and Blaise Genton, M.D., of the University of Lausanne in Switzerland described the case of a 28-year-old woman who presented at their clinic with fever, headache and photophobia that had lasted for three days and a rash that lasted one day. Two days earlier, she had returned from a two-week trip to Mauritius, where she said she experienced frequent mosquito bites.

The patient received symptomatic treatment for suspected Chikungunya, was discharged the same day and followed up as an outpatient. Serology results confirmed that she had Chikungunya fever.

"We strongly discouraged pregnant women, families with young children, people older than 70 years, and those with significant comorbidity from traveling to the Indian Ocean islands," the authors conclude. "We informed other patients about the magnitude of the risk of contracting the disease and let them decide according to their own judgment. We reinforced the message on protective measures against mosquito bites. This case emphasizes the importance of disease-surveillance communication networks, which allow the constant modification of preventive and therapeutic measures."

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