Over this past weekend, Samaritan’s Purse announced that an American physician serving with that charity in Liberia has been diagnosed with Ebola. Dr. Kent Brantly is the Medical Director for the Samaritan’s Purse Ebola Consolidated Case Management Center in Monrovia, Liberia. He has been in the country since October and was doing post-doc work before the outbreak of illnesses began.
Chikungunya is a viral illness that was originally diagnosed in East Africa in 1952. It is similar to illnesses caused by the four dengue viruses but is rarely fatal. It usually resolves in a week or so, but large numbers of patients have had continued or relapsing episodes of the characteristic joint pain as long as five years after their illness.
Illnesses caused by the mosquito borne chikungunya virus were first detected in the Western Hemisphere in very early Dec. 2013. While there have been imported cases of chikungunya for some years, the illness had never been locally acquired until that time. From French St. Martin, the illness quickly spread to other French-speaking islands in the eastern Caribbean and then to other islands and onto the South American continent.