Marshalls see rise in mosquito-borne illness

7:52 am on 13 April 2015

A spike in the number of chikungunya cases in the Marshall Islands has prompted the Ministry of Health to issue repeated alerts on the radio about preventing the mosquito-borne illness.

24 suspected and one confirmed case were reported early in the week.

Majuro Atoll, Marshall Islands

Majuro Atoll, Marshall Islands Photo: RNZI/Walter Zweifel

By Saturday the number of suspected cases had jumped to over 50, with more than a dozen confirmed as chikungunya, according to the Ministry of Health.

The illness produces flu-like symptoms, including joint paint, fever, head and muscle aches.

It also can cause joint swelling and skin rashes.

A number of victims of the illness in Majuro report swollen and painful hands and fingers.

All reported chikungunya cases were in Majuro, the capital of the Marshall Islands.

This is the first known outbreak of chiukungunya in the Marshall Islands and follows on the heels of a major outbreak in Kiribati earlier this year.

In 2011, the Marshall Islands experienced an outbreak of mosquito-borne dengue fever for the first time in 25 years.

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