In a troubling development with possible health ramifications for Americans, Mexico has reported its first domestic case of the painful viral disease chikungunya, which is spread by mosquitoes.
The virus is rampant in Central America, the origin of thousands of illegal aliens who recently crossed into the U.S.
Chikungunya, described in medical literature as debilitating, causes fever, headache and severe joint pain that can last months.
Reuters reported the government of Chiapas, a federal district in Mexico that borders Guatemala, said an 8-year-old girl became the first person to contract the disease in Mexico. She was reportedly treated and released from a hospital in the town of Arriaga.
According to the CDC, from 2006 to 2013, studies identified an average of 28 people per year who tested positive in the U.S. with chikungunya virus infection. All were travelers visiting or returning to the U.S. from affected areas, meaning none of the patients contracted the disease within the U.S.
However, with the influx of illegal aliens from affected areas, domestic infection is now possible.
As WND reported, an aggressive mosquito capable of transmitting Chikungunya, as well as the deadly dengue hemorrhagic fever and other serious diseases, was found in San Diego, California, for the first time last month.
Known as yellow fever mosquitoes, or by the scientific name aedes aegypti, the insects were found in offices at San Diego’s 32nd Street Naval Station, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The same kind of mosquitoes were found Oct. 7 and Oct. 8 in the Los Angeles-area counties of Commerce and Pico Rivera.
WND reported last month an Obama administration plan to facilitate the immigration of up to 100,000 Haitians to the U.S. without a visa is fraught with health risks, particularly the spread of diseases endemic to Haiti, including viruses transmitted by the mosquito.
The World Health Organization’s global alert on yellow fever says the disease is “endemic in 10 South and Central American countries and in several Caribbean islands.”
“The disease was originally imported into the Americas from Africa, but became widely established there,” the alert adds.
The insects’ presence in Latin America means the mosquitoes or their eggs could have been transported to the U.S. in baggage, clothing, food or liquids carried by illegal aliens crossing the border.
The female mosquitoes can lay up to 300 eggs at a time, with the future progeny usually deposited in clusters. Eggs are usually laid on the surface of stagnant water and can hatch in as little as an inch of water.
Besides the stream of illegal aliens arriving from Central America, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, a branch of the Department of Homeland Security, announced it plan to expedite a program to reunite Haitians already living in the U.S. with family members abroad.
According to the Associated Press, about 100,000 Haitians have already been approved to arrive in the U.S. under the reunification program but are waiting in Haiti for visas.
The Caribbean country is currently in the midst of outbreaks of cholera and the chikungunya virus.
Haiti also has the highest incidence of HIV and AIDS infection for any country outside of Africa.
With additional research by Brenda J. Elliott.