The U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, informs U.S. citizens of a public health concern regarding the chikungunya virus. Chikungunya virus is a mosquito transmitted virus recently identified in Dominican Republic after spreading there from other Caribbean islands.
Symptoms typically include fever and severe joint pain of the hands and feet that begin 3-7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Other symptoms may include muscle pain, headache, fever, joint swelling, and rash. There is no vaccine or medication to prevent chikungunya virus infection or any antiviral medications to treat it at this time. While deaths are rare, people at increased risk for severe disease include newborns, adults over 65 years, and those with chronic health conditions. The presentation of chikungunya is similar to dengue. Citizens are encouraged to seek medical attention if they are showing symptoms, and especially if the fever is over 102 F (above 39 C). Anyone sick with chikungunya should avoid mosquito bites to help prevent further spreading of the virus.
The Centers for Disease Control have some excellent websites for additional information on the chikungunya virus.
Chikungunya, dengue and malaria are all mosquito borne illnesses that are present in the Dominican Republic. At this time, prevention of these infections is focused on reducing mosquito exposure by using repellents, covering exposed skin, treating clothing and tents with permethrin and sleeping in screened or air conditioned rooms. Important mosquito control measures include emptying water from outdoor containers and using sprays. Travelers should carry and use CDC recommended insect repellents containing either 20% DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535 will help diminish bites from mosquitoes as well ticks, fleas, chiggers, etc, some of which may also carry infectious diseases.
- Chikungunya Virus Fact Sheets
- CDC’s Chikungunya virus webpage
- Información al público sobre el virus chicunguña, (in Spanish)
To obtain Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) travel notices, call the CDC at 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636) from within the United States, or 1-404-639-3534 from overseas, or visit the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/travel.
We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Dominican Republic enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at www.Travel.State.Gov. STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in an emergency. If you don’t have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
Regularly monitor the State Department’s website, where you can find current Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution. Read the Country Specific Information for the Dominican Republic. For additional information, refer to “A Safe Trip Abroad” on the State Department’s website.
Emergencies involving U.S. citizens can be reported by contacting the American Citizen Services (ACS) Unit of the U.S. Embassy’s Consular Section, located at Calle Nicolas Penson and Maximo Gomez, telephone (809) 567-7775, and e-mail at SDOAmericans@state.gov. The U.S. Consular Agency in Puerto Plata can be reached at (809) 589-8017. The U.S. Consular Agency in Punta Cana/Bavaro can be reached at (809) 552-8990.