The chikungunya virus has infected about a dozen people on the Caribbean island of St. Martin, the first time that the mosquito-borne virus has spread to the Americas. The virus, which can cause symptoms similar to those of dengue, is rarely fatal, but it can cause chronic and debilitating joint pain. "The extent of the outbreak is difficult to assess and might have remained undetected ... on other islands," according to a risk assessment released by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.

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