'Knuckle fever' reaches Italy

2:59pm, October 23, 2007

From San Diego, at a meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America

An exotic virus that debilitates victims with fevers and joint pain has spread from Africa and India to Italy, where it has caused at least 284 cases of illness.

The chikungunya-virus outbreak began in 2004 on Lamu, an island off the east coast of Africa, says Robert Breiman, an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention station in Kisumu, Kenya. It soon spread to the nearby Comoro Islands, and "then the bottle really opened up" and the outbreak leaped to mainland Africa and to India.

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