What is Chikungunya

Chikungunya is a virus spread by bites from infected Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. It is not contagious from person to person but symptoms include: fever and severe joint pain. Other symptoms include muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The virus shares symptoms with dengue, and can be misdiagnosed in areas where dengue is common. Unfortunately, there is no cure for Chikungunya.

Virus Reaches The US!

The disease most often occurs in Africa, Asia and India. In recent years mosquito chikungunya has spread to Europe. In 2007, this disease was reported for the first time in a localized outbreak in north-eastern Italy.

More recently, outbreaks have been reported in Florida, for the first time in history. Just this month, Florida Health officials confirmed the first locally acquired cases of chikungunya. The man and woman who became infected began experiencing symptoms similar to dengue.

Health experts had predicted it was only a matter of time before this virus made its way to the U.S because it has been spreading rapidly in the Caribbean and Central America for years, infected thousands.

Even more recently New York and New Jersey have also had 44, and 25 reported cases of this “severe and disabling” virus. Chikungunya is spreading rapidly with states experiencing the outbreak like never before.

Now What?

According to the CDC, “It is not known what course chikungunya will take now in the United States. CDC officials believe chikungunya will behave like dengue virus in the United States, where imported cases have resulted in sporadic local transmission but have not caused widespread outbreaks,” So far, dengue has been seen in Florida and South Texas.

The best action step to avoid diseases like dengue, west nile, and now chikungunya is to practice proactive prevention. This means tossing all standing water around your area, wearing loose clothing around dusk, and protecting your skin with natural ant-mosquito formulas.

 

References:

NBC News

USA Today

CDC