Three Icelandic tourists holidaying on Costa Blanca first to contract chikungunya in Spain

THREE Icelandic holidaymakers have been diagnosed with chikungunya fever after returning to their home country from the Costa Blanca, the first recorded case of someone contracting the disease in Spain.

Officials with Spain’s Health Ministry in the Valencia Region have confirmed the tourists were diagnosed in a Reykjavik hospital. They had been staying in Alicante Province.

The first to be diagnosed was a 37-year-old woman. Doctors later confirmed her sister and five-year-old son also had the illness.

Valencia’s Generalitat has since activated disease control measures, with officials set to visit hospitals in Alicante Province to see if any other people have contracted the disease. Researchers from the universities of Alicante and Valencia are also set to collect samples for study.

Chikungunya is transmitted by mostiquitoes and symptoms include feeling feverish, joint pain and rashes which usually develop about 12 days after exposure.

The illness kills around one in every 1,000 people who contract it. Symptoms typically clear within a week but the disease can lead to long-term complications with joints in some cases.