Tourists visiting islands in the Indian Ocean such as Mauritius have been struck by a rare and life-threatening virus, which has claimed 77 lives so far, according to doctors.
The chikungunya virus infection is characterized by fever, joint and muscle pain, headaches and rashes and is potentially lethal. It has ravaged the Indian Ocean islands since the first two months of 2006. Researchers from the University of Lausanne, Switzerland have reported the cases in The Lancet. They have described the case of a woman who had recently returned from a holiday in Mauritius in February.
Chikungunya is a Swahili word meaning the bended walker. The name describes the condition of the patient afflicted with chronic joint disease.
In the current report, the woman's fever subsided after some time but the arthritis remained. Mauritius is a popular destination among honeymooning couples, but the number of tourists, numbering 700,000 each year suffered after the outbreak.