John D. Chovan, James R. Cacchillo
Vector-borne Diseases, Mosquitoes
Medical Pathology | Medicine and Health Sciences | Nursing | Virus Diseases
The Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) has spread like a wildfire in the Americas. Since its emergence in Sub-Saharan Africa as early at the 18th century, CHIKV has caused many isolated outbreaks in Africa, Southeast Asia, and Australia. Over the last decade, the vector-borne disease has inflicted millions of people on islands in the Indian Ocean, India, and now the Americas with the aid of viral mutations and international travel (Weaver and Lecuit, 2015). The first case of local CHIKV transmission in the Western Hemisphere was fairly recent. On the island of St. Martin in October 2013, an individual carrying an Asian strain of CHIKV was bitten by a local mosquito. This mosquito (A. aegypti) became a local carrier of the disease. A. aegypti can be found in the Caribbean, Central America, much of South America, and the southeastern United States. There are over 1.2 million reported cases in the Americas from 2013 to March 2015 (Gaines, 2015). Recently, there have been 11 CHIKV cases in Florida which were transmitted by local mosquitos. Further spread of the virus throughout the Americas is expected (Weaver & Lecuit, 2015). If a single gene mutation on the envelope protein occurs (which has happened on La Reunion Island), it could significantly boost the spread of the virus via another mosquito, A. albopictus. A. albopictus inhabits much of the United States including Ohio (Miner et al., 2015). Advanced practice nurses (APN) should be aware of the clinical signs and symptoms, pathophysiology, and the implications for nursing care of CHIKV because of its recent rapid spread in the Western Hemisphere. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are expected to add the virus to the list of notifiable conditions this year (Lindsey et al., 2015).
Sullivan, Lindsay D., "Chikungunya Virus: A Case Study of the Emerging Vector-Borne Disease" (2015). Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Student Scholarship. Paper 102.