A. Situation analysis
Description of the disaster
The chikungunya virus belongs to the Togaviridae Alpha family and is transmitted by mosquitoes of the genus Aedes. This virus, known since the 1950s, has caused epidemics in Asia, Africa and the Indian Ocean. The virus causes fever and severe joint pain, as well as other symptoms including muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash.
The first cases of the mosquito-borne chikungunya were confirmed in Haiti during the last week of April. The disease was first detected in the Caribbean in December 2013, in St Martin. Since then, a number of regional countries including Antigua, Barbados, Dominica, St Vincent, the Grenadines, the Dominican Republic, and Cuba have reported confirmed cases of the painful illness most commonly found in Asia and Africa. Now the virus has spread in the continental territories—El Salvador and Venezuela.
Initially 1,529 cases of the chikungunya virus were confirmed by Ronald Singer, a spokesman for Haiti’s Health Ministry. The bulk of the cases—about 900—were found in the West department, where the capital of Port-au-Prince is located. Another 300 cases were confirmed in northwestern Haiti.
The Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) said that the suspected chikungunya cases in Haiti rose from 3,460 to 6,312 as of 28 May 2014. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), which does not list suspected cases for Haiti, reported 632 confirmed cases in the country.