The first case of the mosquito-transmitted chikungunya virus has been confirmed in Mississippi by the Mississippi State Department of Health. The infected person is reportedly a Mississippi resident who recently returned home from Honduras.
There were eight cases of chikungunya reported in Mississippi last year, and all reported cases were found in people who had traveled internationally. The virus is a risk to all travelers who visit the Caribbean, Central and South America.
Chikungunya symptoms include fever, swelling of the joints and pain in the joints and muscles. Death from the infection is rare, but people with a lower immune system are at a higher risk for complications.
Those who suspect they may be infected with the virus should contact a health care provider and stay indoors for at least 10 days in an effort to avoid mosquito, which may bite the infected person and spread the infection.
Although chikungunya is a concern, West Nile virus is still a bigger threat to Mississippi residents, according to the Mississippi State Department of Health. There were 43 cases of West Nile virus in Mississippi last year and seven deaths.
The Mississippi State Department of Health recommends taking the following precautions to protect yourself from mosquito-borne illness:
– Use a recommended mosquito repellent that contains DEET while you are outdoors.
– Remove all sources of standing water around your home and yard to prevent mosquito breeding.
– Wear loose, light-colored, long clothing to cover the arms and legs when outdoors.
– Avoid areas where mosquitoes are prevalent. Mosquitoes that carry the chikungunya virus are especially active during the day.
– Travelers to the Caribbean, Central and South America where local transmission has occurred should prevent mosquito exposures.
Beth Harmon is the managing editor for HottyToddy.com. Email her at email@example.com.