SAN JUAN – Puerto Rico has logged more than 4,000 confirmed cases of infection with the Chikungunya virus this year, the Health Department said Wednesday.
Lab tests confirmed 118 new cases during the Nov. 12-Dec. 9 period, chief epidemiologist Brenda Rivera Garcia said, which brought the total to 4,185, pending data for the rest of December.
“Most of the cases confirmed in this report are in the western area of the island,” she said in a statement. “It is important that residents in this region’s municipalities take steps to protect themselves and to eradicate mosquito breeding sites both around houses and work areas.”
Chikungunya, like dengue fever, is spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito.
Rivera Garcia urged residents to continue using insect repellants and wearing clothes that limit exposure to mosquito bites.
The Chikungunya virus is responsible for five deaths on the island this year, according to the Puerto Rico Health Department.
Puerto Rican authorities declared a Chikungunya epidemic in July.
First detected in Africa in the 1950s, Chikungunya did not appear in the Americas until 2013. There is no vaccine for the virus.