Chikungunya fever

Chikungunya was originally found in Africa, Asia and the Indian subcontinent, the World Health Organization says. In recent decades, mosquitoes have spread the disease to Europe and the Americas. (Philippe Wojazer/Reuters)

A viral disease spread by mosquitoes that causes fever and debilitating joint pain has sickened people on more Caribbean islands, the Public Health Agency of Canada says.

"There have been confirmed cases of chikungunya on the Caribbean islands of Saint Martin/St. Maarten, Dominica, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint-Barthélemy and the British Virgin Islands. These cases mark the first time that locally acquired transmission of chikungunya has been detected in the region of the Americas," the agency said in a travel notice.

French Guiana has reported cases of chikungunya related to travel within the Caribbean.

Federal public health officials recommend that travellers in the Caribbean take precautions, such as protecting yourself from mosquito bites — particularly during peak mosquito biting times in the early morning and late afternoon.

Chikungunya is a disease caused by the chikungunya virus. It typically causes fever, along with an arthritis-like pain in the joints and a rash.

It is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. The symptoms of chikungunya can appear similar to those of dengue fever, although it is caused by a different virus, the agency says.

The agency advises anyone who develops symptoms similar to chikungunya when travelling or after you return to see a health-care provider and tell them where you have been travelling or living.