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The Health Ministry issued a warning on Sunday to Israeli backpackers headed for India about the outbreak of Chikungunya fever in that country. Since the beginning of this year, the virus has spread to eight regions in India: Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashta, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Madhya Pradesh, and Kerala and Delhi.
The ministry recommends that travelers to that part of the world take precautions against mosquito bites, including wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants and using mosquito repellents, to avoid infection.
More than 1.25 million people are believed to have been infected there so far. Prior to 2006, the fever was reported in the Indian Ocean islands of Reunion, Mauritius, Comoros and Seychelles.
The viral disease is spread by mosquito bites. It cannot be passed from one person to another. The disease, which causes fever, joint pain and a rash, can be severe but is not fatal. The World Health Organization received reports that the disease had reached some Western countries - but not Israel - via India and the Indian Ocean islands.