News & AnalysisInfectious Diseases

Crippling Virus Set to Conquer Western Hemisphere

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Science  16 May 2014:
Vol. 344, Issue 6185, pp. 678-679
DOI: 10.1126/science.344.6185.678

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The chikungunya virus, which causes rashes, fever, and agonizing, sometimes lasting, joint pains, is spreading rapidly in the Caribbean. More than 45,000 suspected and confirmed infections have already been reported. Now that it has arrived in the Western Hemisphere, the virus will spread as far as the southern United States and Argentina, scientists say, because its main vector, the mosquito species Aedes aegypti, is widespread. There are no drugs against chikungunya, but several vaccines are in various stages of development.