To the Editor: Chikungunya virus infection (CHIKV) is a major public health problem throughout the world, with regular indigenous cases of the disease occurring in temperate regions and worldwide spread of the vector of infection. Lang and colleagues summarized the most important concerns about CHIKV infection well. One concern that is rarely mentioned during CHIKV epidemics is the effect of the infection on society, and on the healthcare system in particular, during the acute phase and once the epidemic has waned. The prevalence of CHIKV is high in immunologically naïve populations, so the effect on healthcare systems in the case of a mass epidemic in western countries would be major, first because of the massive influx of people into healthcare facilities and second because of a shortfall of healthcare personnel, these latter having become sick with the disease themselves. The article by Lang and colleagues suggests that CHIKV could take a heavy toll on elderly persons in the United States and other western countries. Extrapolating data observed in younger populations to older populations is hazardous, and it has not been established that older persons would be more likely to contract the infection than their younger counterparts. Nonetheless, it is
Journal of American Geriatrics Society – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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