26 Jul 2014

Chikungunya virus confirmed in American Samoa

9:30 am on 26 July 2014

The Health Department in American Samoa says it has confirmed the acute rash outbreak as cases of Chikungunya, a virus similar to dengue fever.

Three of the samples sent off island for testing have been confirmed as the virus, which are the first confirmed cases of Chikungunya in American Samoa.

The virus is transmitted to people by mosquitoes, with the most common symptoms being fever and joint pain, and other symptoms including headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash.

The Department of Health's acting medical director, Dr Fuimaono, says they are glad to now know the exact type of illness they are dealing with.

"We've been encouraging and we've been informing our community, that this is symptomatic where we treat it with tylenol and lots of fluid. The bottom line is prevention, so far we have about 100 plus cases, we're happy now that we know what sort of guide that we're going to [with that] confirmation of the chikungunya"

Dr. Fuimaono says they are still awaiting the results of twenty other specimens sent off island, but dengue has been ruled out for most of them.