Chikungunya: Nasty Virus Soon To Land in the USA

Story via The Daily Beast

Chikungunya Mosquito

This isn’t an end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it scenario. And it has barely made the news. But with the potential of millions of Americans suffering painfully, I fully expect the situation to be dealt with – without any fanfare or lack of funding.

Unlike TEOTWAWKI scenarios, this will be fixed because of the certainty of it happening, and authorities being accountable. As likelihood diminishes, responses diminish exponentially. That seems to be human nature.

Anyway, please be aware of this threat, and be thankful that it will/should be promptly dealt with!

A bit of history:

The United States once was a pit of malaria-toting mosquitoes from the South all the way up to Philadelphia and beyond. Indeed, malaria figured heavily in the Revolutionary War and may have helped defeat the Redcoats. The National Malaria Eradication Program mounted in Atlanta after World War II used DDT to vanquish the mosquito and made America malaria-free.

How a new variety of mosquitoes are now arriving in the USA:

It turns out that millions of bald tires are moved from rich countries to poor countries and retreads sent back from the poor to the rich. Millions, seriously—check this out. Used, hubcap-free tires are well known to sequester standing water—a perfect breeding ground for the next generation of mosquitos.

Why Americans should be fearful – the suffering is great, and with zero immunity basically everyone in its path will get ill:

Chikungunya, which causes fever and severe aches, has been a big deal in public health circles for a decade or so since an explosive outbreak of the viral infection occurred on the Reunion Islands in the southwestern part of the Indian Ocean.  Once introduced there, 266,000 of the island’s 770,000 people developed the clinical disease. And after the epidemic burnt out in Reunion, it moved to India, where 1.25 million cases were seen in short order. Then Italy. Then more islands in the Indian Ocean.

The solution:

…it is inevitable that Chikungunya will move through the rest of Caribbean and find its way to Florida, Texas and the rest of the muggy South unless an intense mosquito eradication is undertaken.  Such a program will be expensive, require thoughtful planning and coordination between states both red and blue, involve harsh pesticides and a re-consideration of the necessity of an international tire resale business. Control also will need faster more widely available diagnostic tests, smoother healthcare delivery, and exploration into new vaccines. In other words, unless we as a country become contorted in a fashion not seen since the great 20th century public health triumphs against diseases such as polio, we soon may be contorted by Chikungunya.


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