US gets first local case of mosquito-borne chikungunya

A Florida man who has not recently traveled outside the country is the first person in the United States to get the mosquito-borne chikungunya virus locally, officials said Thursday.

The viral infection causes fever and , which can be severe, as well as headache, , joint swelling and a rash, experts say.

Until now, the United States has only recorded cases of people coming back into the country with the virus after getting bitten while traveling, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

"The arrival of chikungunya virus, first in the tropical Americas and now in the United States, underscores the risks posed by this and other exotic pathogens," said Roger Nasci, chief of CDC's Arboviral Diseases Branch.

The virus, pronounced chik-un-GUHN-ya, was first recognized in the Western Hemisphere seven months ago, and with cases mounting in the Caribbean, experts have warned it was only a matter of time before it made its way into the United States.

"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working closely with the Florida Department of Health to investigate how the patient contracted the virus," said the health agency.

Authorities will "also monitor for additional locally acquired US cases in the coming weeks and months," it said in a statement.

The CDC did not release any further details about the Florida man.

There is no vaccine to prevent it and no medicine to treat it. However, the CDC says chikungunya is not often fatal and people usually recover within a week.

Symptoms are similar to dengue fever. Once a person is infected, he or she is likely to be protected against it in the future.

Since 2006, the United States has averaged 28 imported cases of chikungunya annually among people returning from countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, Central and South America and the Caribbean.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Chikungunya virus spreads to Peru

Jun 24, 2014

Peru on Monday reported its first cases of the chikungunya virus, in two people who recently traveled to the Dominican Republic, authorities said.

Video: Expert on threat of chikungunya virus

Jul 14, 2014

With a handful of New Englanders having recently contracted the mosquito-borne disease called chikungunya, should Massachusetts residents be worried about catching it?

Recommended for you

Obama to announce major Ebola effort

2 hours ago

US President Barack Obama will Tuesday seek to "turn the tide" in the Ebola epidemic by ordering 3,000 US military personnel to West Africa and launching a major health care training and hygiene program.

Sierra Leone: WHO too slow to help doc with Ebola

12 hours ago

Sierra Leone accused the World Health Organization on Monday of being "sluggish" in facilitating an evacuation of a doctor who died from Ebola before she could be sent out of the country for medical care.

Dutch doctors feared to have Ebola leave hospital

12 hours ago

Two Dutch doctors flown home from west Africa after fears they might have been contaminated with the killer Ebola virus have left hospital "in good health," their employer, the Lion Heart Medical Centre, said Monday.

Strategic self-sabotage? MRSA inhibits its own growth

17 hours ago

Scientists at the University of Western Ontario have uncovered a bacterial mystery. Against all logic, the most predominant strain of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in North American produces an enzyme ...

User comments