Painful and Rapid Spread of New Virus in Caribbean

Caption: In this May 15, 2014 photo, five-year-old Karla Sepulveda, who suffers chikungunya fever symptoms, waits with her grandmother for treatment in the pediatric area of a public hospital in the coastal town of Boca Chica, Dominican Republic. The mosquito-born virus, common in Africa and Asia, arrived to the Caribbean in late 2013 and has affected more than 10,000 people in the Dominican Republic. (AP Photo/Ezequiel Abiu Lopez) Credit: The Associated Press

By EZEQUIEL ABIU LOPEZ
Associated Press, May 22, 2014
  
SAN CRISTOBAL, Dominican Republic (AP) — They suffer searing headaches, a burning fever and so much pain in their joints they can barely walk or use their hands. It’s like having a terrible flu combined with an abrupt case of arthritis.

Hospitals and clinics throughout the Caribbean are seeing thousands of people with the same symptoms, victims of a virus with a long and unfamiliar name that has been spread rapidly by mosquitoes across the islands after the first locally transmitted case was confirmed in December.

‘‘You feel it in your bones, your fingers and your hands. It’s like everything is coming apart,’’ said 34-year-old Sahira Francisco as she and her daughter waited for treatment at a hospital in San Cristobal, a town in the southern Dominican Republic that has seen a surge of the cases in recent days.

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