COSTA RICA NEWS – A French tourist is the first confirmed case of the Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) in Costa Rica, announced Friday the Ministerio de Salud (Health).

The woman arrived in Costa Rica with her mother on May 10. She visited areas in San José, Tortuguero, La Fortuna, Monteverde and Quepos. She left for her home country on May 21. Six days later, she developed symptoms.

chikv_pub_2011_130_enFrance’s national virology laboratory alerted Costa Rican authorities confirming the case.

Vice-minister of Health, María Esther Anchía Angulo, said “there is no confirmation that the woman acquired the virus in Costa Rica, though there is a high suspision. Nor can we rule out that she had been incubating the virus on arrivial.”

Last month there were several cases of suspected Chikungunya infection, all were ruled out following testing.

Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is an arthropod-borne virus, of the genus Alphavirus, that is is spread to humans by the bite of an infected female Aedes species mosquito – Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus. These are the same tropical and sub-tropical mosquitoes that carry the dengue virus.

The best means of prevention is overall mosquito control and in addition, the avoidance of bites by any infected mosquitoes.There is no specific treatment but medications can be used to reduce symptoms.

There is no vaccine to prevent infection. There is no specific treatment for chikungunya infection. The use of pain medication and rest can provide relief for some of the symptoms. Rest and fluids may also be useful.

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