Chikungunya was identified in Argentina for the first time on March 7 by the National IHR Focal Point of Argentina, which then relayed the information to PAHO/WHO.
The laboratory confirmations were found by using reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction, or RT-PCR.
Tests included 1,281 people who were thought to have chikungunya between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2015, with 21 people confirmed to have contracted it, and 22 thought to be likely. Beginning on Jan. 1 of this year, up to the week of Feb. 21-27, another 1,030 people were tested for chikungunya; 55 were confirmed to have been infected; and four more were thought to probably have contracted it.
Most of the identified cases have been from Argentina's cities Tartagal and Apolinario Saravia, both located in the Salta province, while the rest were from the province of Jujuy in the city of San Pedro. Health figures in Argentina are attempting to control the outbreak and heal the infected, through higher surveillance of infected and symptomatic patients, performing tasks that will control more heavily affected areas and by communicating with the public and other health officials.
All of the confirmed infections in Argentina lie close to the Bolivian border, which has been infected with chikungunya for many years. It is possible it may continue spreading throughout the country and to neighboring nations.
The WHO has issued a warning about the Aedes mosquito population and suggests that decreasing the mosquito breeding will limit the infection numbers, by means of limiting their habitats, using mosquito nets, using repellant, shutting doors and windows, and dressing in long-sleeved garments.