Chikungunya virus spreads to United States

By Michelle Kapusta,

A mosquito illness called the chikungunya virus, has now spread to the United States.

According to CNN, on Thursday, a case of chikungunya, which has been spreading through the Caribbean since last year, was reported in Georgia. The Department of Public Health officials said that the patient became infected after visiting a Caribbean nation.

On Wednesday, the Tallahassee Democrat noted that two residents in Florida’s Leon County had contracted the mosquito-borne virus after a recent trip to Haiti.

“Both of those cases were imported,” said Leon County Health Officer Claudia Blackburn. “We haven’t had it spread locally, but people don’t need to worry about getting this disease here in Leon County.”

A spokesperson for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that other cases have also been reported in North Carolina and Tennessee and the CDC has received reports of 57 total U.S. infections in 2014 so far.

The most common symptoms of the chikungunya virus are fever and joint pain. Other symptoms can include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling or rash. The virus has also been found in Africa, Asia and Europe.

There is no known vaccine or medicine to treat a chikungunya virus infection.



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