The north-eastern area of Italy has recently been dealing with an outbreak of Chikungunya virus, for the last 2-3 months. The villages of Castiglione di Ravenna and Castiglione di Cervia in the province of Ravenna appear to be the center of the ourbreak. There have been approximately 131 suspected cases, since July of 2007. More cases are under investigation, and testing results are still pending.
The center of the outbreak is believed to be traced back to a visitor, to the area, from Kerala, India. The mosquito Aedes albopictus is a new immigrant to Italy and is a know vector for this viral disease and mosquito “season” in the area is expected to run through mid-November. The chance of more transmissions in the area is likely.
Chikungunya Virus is a self-limiting (it goes away on its own) disease that is characterized by fevers, arthritis and a rash, mainly on the chest and back. The arthritis can persist for months, after the infection subsides. The illness has been known to progress into hemorrhagic (bleeding) complications, similiar to Dengue Fever. More about hemorrhagic viruses can be found on the Adventure Doc page: Hemorrhagic Viruses.
To avoid this illness, protect yourself from mosquito bites! The diagnosis is made by serology from a blood sample.
You can view the Promed update here