GAINESVILLE, Florida, US (sentinel.ht) – Researches at the University of Florida identified a boy in Haiti with a new serious mosquito-transmitted illness never before reported in Haiti.
The mosquito-borne Mayaro virus is closely related to the chikungunya virus and was isolated in Trinidad in 1954. Most reported cases since have been confined to small outbreaks in the Amazon.
Whether the diagnosis is the signalling of the beginning of a new epidemic in the Caribbean, is currently unknown.
“While the current attention was focused on the Zika virus, the discovery of another virus transmitted by mosquitoes that can be going around the Caribbean is alarming,” said Dr. Glenn Morris, Director of the Emerging Pathogens Institute at UF.
“…hopefully we will not see the same massive outbreaks we’ve seen with chikungunya, dengue and now Zika. However, these results emphasize that there are more viruses waiting in the wings and that can be a threat in the future, and we need to monitor.”
“The virus we detected is genetically different from those which have recently been described in Brazil, and we do not know yet if it is unique in Haiti or if it is a recombinant strain of different types of Mayaro virus,” said Dr. John Lednicky, associate professor in environmental and global health department at the UF College of Public Health and Health Professions. He is the lead author of the study whose results were published online on August 26 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The journal of of emerging infectious diseases symptoms of Mayaro fever are similar to those of chikungunya fever: fever, joint pain, muscle pain and rash. Abdominal pain is also a feature of Mayaro fever, however, joint pain can last longer.