Canada issues travel notice after chikungunya virus spreads to Martinique from St. Martin
In this photo released from the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, entomologists Walter Tabachnick, left, and Roxanne Connelly consult computer images of chikungunya virus at the Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory in Vero Beach, Fla., Monday, April 23, 2007. (AP / Thomas Wright)
Published Tuesday, December 24, 2013 4:32PM EST
KINGSTON, Jamaica -- Health officials say a mosquito-borne virus appears to have spread to the French Caribbean island of Martinique.
French epidemiologists in Martinique have confirmed two local cases of the chikungunya virus. Local transmission of the illness typically found in Africa and Asia was first detected in the French Caribbean dependency of St. Martin.
Earlier this month, the World Health Organization reported 10 confirmed cases in St. Martin, which shares a tiny island with Dutch St. Maarten. It's the first time the virus has been spread locally in the Western Hemisphere.
On Tuesday, Canada's public health agency recommended that travellers protect themselves from mosquito bites when travelling in St. Martin, St. Maarten and Martinique.
The viral illness can cause symptoms including fever and debilitating joint and muscle pain. There is no vaccine.