Virus toll nears 500,000 in Dominican Republic

AP News
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Posted: Sep 19, 2014 4:34 PM

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) — Health authorities in the Dominican Republic say a mosquito-borne virus has now sickened nearly 500,000 people in the country, which is among the hardest hit by the outbreak in the Caribbean.

Health Ministry official Carmen Adames says those infected with the chikungunya virus includes 109 newborns. Adames says the virus was transmitted because their mothers were infected when they gave birth.

The official who is coordinating the government's response to the outbreak told reporters Friday that none of the babies died.

Chikungunya has spread quickly in the region since the first locally transmitted case in the Western Hemisphere was documented in late 2013.

The Pan American Health Organization says there have been nearly 1 million cases in the hemisphere. Symptoms include high fever, severe headaches and joint pain.