Chikungunya: Going Viral in Colombia

Colombia reports 175,000 cases of chikungunya. How has the epidemic affected the country? The City Paper in Bogota, Colombia lists the ways:

  • Hospitals in Cucutá, the nation’s sixth largest city, recently ran out of beds for patients.
  • Online videos of Colombians singing about their chikungunya have attracted millions of views.
  • President Juan Manuel Santos announced in early January that Colombia’s Armed Forces would help distribute pain relievers.
  • Former President Álvaro Uribe attacked the government’s response by tweeting to his 3.6 million followers, while progovernment newspapers called him infected insect.
  • In the city of Neiva, people are wrapping their limbs in mango leaves as prevention.
  • In the village of Luis Carlos Galán, “every member of all 350 families had fallen ill.”
  • Con artists collect money to fumigate for mosquitoes but then never return.

Despite recent successes against chikungunya hotspots in the country, the government has estimated the virus would affect 670,000 Colombians by the end of 2015.

The City Paper Bogota

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