The people of a Caribbean nation known as Haiti are in great fear now following the news of a new mosquito-borne disease detected in a patient. This disease is known as Mayaro virus. According to Florida researchers, this disease has never been detected in any patient before now.
Mayaro virus is closely related to chikungunya virus and was isolated in Trinidad in 1954. Most of the reported cases, however, were confined to small outbreaks in the Amazon.
Whether this event signals the beginning of a new epidemic in the Caribbean, is currently unknown.
"While the current attention was focused on the Zika virus, the discovery of another virus transmitted by mosquitoes that can be going around the Caribbean is alarming," said Dr. Glenn Morris, Director of the Emerging Pathogens Institute at UF.
"[...] Hopefully we will not see the same massive outbreaks we've seen with chikungunya, dengue and now Zika. However, these results emphasize that there are more viruses waiting in the wings and that can be a threat in the future, and we need to monitor."
"The virus we detected is genetically different from those which have recently been described in Brazil, and we do not know yet if it is unique in Haiti or if it is a recombinant strain of different types of Mayaro virus," said Dr. John Lednicky, associate professor in environmental and global health department at the UF College of Public Health and Health Professions and lead author of the study whose results were published online August 26 by the CDC in Emerging Infectious Disease.
Symptoms of Mayaro fever are similar to those of chikungunya fever: fever, joint pain, muscle pain and rash. Abdominal pain is also a feature of Mayaro fever, but joint pain can last longer.