Mosquito-borne virus spreads rapidly in Haiti

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — A spokesman for Haiti's health ministry says that a mosquito-borne virus has spread throughout the Caribbean nation.

Ronald Singer said Tuesday that 1,529 cases of the chikungunya virus have been confirmed. About 900 of those cases were found in the west department, where the capital of Port-au-Prince is located.

Health officials said last Tuesday there had been only 14 confirmed cases.

The symptoms of chikungunya include a sharp fever, headache, full-body rash and joint pain. The illness is rarely fatal.

The arrival of the virus in Haiti was expected. In neighboring Dominican Republic, authorities have confirmed at least 150 to 200 cases.

The often-painful illness most commonly found in Asia and Africa was first detected in the Caribbean in December on tiny St. Martin.

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