12 Dec 2014

Chikungunya rages in French Polynesia

5:38 pm on 12 December 2014

Health authorities in French Polynesia now say at least 35,000 people have now been infected with the chikungunya virus since the outbreak began in Tahiti in early October.

French Polynesia. Papeete waterfront

French Polynesia, Papeete waterfront Photo: RNZ

They say the virus which is passed between people by mosquito bites has also led to the deaths of five people, including a newborn baby.

The number of people with the illness is growing rapidly in the territory, with 7,000 new cases reported in the past two days.

Three patients have been diagnosed with the serious neurological condition, Guillain-Barre syndrome, following chikungunya.

Most patients with chikungunya have recovered within a few days following high fevers and joint pain but those with Guillain-Barre may have symptoms for several months.