The Next Mosquito-Borne Infection You Might Start Worrying About

"It’s called chikungunya virus, and it’s already here in the United States, with 28 cases brought into parts of the country by travelers from 17 countries, mainly in the Caribbean, where more than 103,000 people have been afflicted by the debilitating virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday.

Similar in some ways to dengue fever, the virus, (pronounced chik-en-gun-ye) causes high fever and intense pain and swelling in joints, as well as muscle pain and headaches. It is transmitted by two kinds of mosquitoes found in parts of the United States. The disease is rarely fatal, but there is no treatment other than pain relief. And while the virus tends to run its course in a week or so, pain can linger for months and, in some cases, years.

So far, there have been no documented cases of transmission from one person to another via mosquito in the United States, the CDC reported, (all the cases have been imported by travelers), but one researcher believes it’s only a matter of time. “There is a high risk that there will eventually be some transmission in Florida,” said Scott Weaver, director of the Institute for Human Infections and Immunity at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston."

Lenny Bernstein reports for the Washington Post June 5, 2014.

Friday, June 6, 2014