First cases of locally acquired chikungunya virus reported in Florida

By Jennifer Pilgrim,

Two people in Florida, who have not been abroad recently, have shown signs of having the chikungunya virus. The virus, while common in Africa, Asia, Europe and parts of the Caribbean, is not often seen in the United States unless brought back through someone who has been bitten by a mosquito while abroad.

The virus is transmitted through bites from the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus species of the mosquito, reports The Huffington Post. Although those species are found in the southeast, and some southwest regions, of the United States, it is not common for Americans to get the virus. It cannot be transmitted from person to person.

The Puerto Rican government has declared an epidemic of chikungunya, and there have been over 200 diagnosed patients with the disease since June 25, reports CBS.

Chikungunya translates from Africa as "contorted with pain." Symptoms of it include fever, muscle pain, rash and headaches. It is rarely fatal, but can be painful to the point of debilitation. Although there is no vaccination for it, many recover from it within a week. It is believed that once infected, it reacts much like chicken pox, and it is extremely unusual for someone to get the infection again.



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