Haiti offers treatment as virus outbreak surges

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — The government of Haiti says it will distribute pain medication to clinics around the country amid a surge in suspected cases of a mosquito-borne virus.

Public Health Minister Florence Guillaume says there have been more than 5,500 cases of the virus known as chikungunya. The outbreak has been spreading around the Caribbean since the first known locally transmitted case was reported in French St. Martin in December.

Haiti had around 1,500 suspected cases last week.

There is no vaccine for chikungunya and the primary treatment is medication for the high fever and arthritis-like pain in the joints that are symptoms of the illness.

Guillaume told Radio Caribe on Friday that the government has 400,000 doses of acetaminophen to distribute and that anyone with chikungunya can be treated at no cost.

©2014 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.