Chikungunya virus, most commonly spread by mosquitos, has been confirmed in 11 different cases in Texas.
Chikungunya virus is an infection spread to humans through mosquitos. Outbreaks have occurred in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Indian and Pacific Oceans, according to the CDC. In 2013, it was found in the Caribbean and most recently, 11 cases have been confirmed in Texas.
All the patients who have been tested positive for chikungunya (CHIKV) acquired the disease in foreign places where the virus is more common. A patient in Dallas county had just returned from a trip to the Caribbean when he showed signs of the virus. The virus has been found in patients in Bexar, Collin, Dallas, Gonzales, Montgomery, and Williamson counties.
The Texas Department of Heath and Safety are concerned with the amounts of cases since chikungunya is most commonly spread with Aedes mosquitos, which are a species found in Texas. The TDHS is alerting Texans to protect themselves as they would from the West Nile Virus. This means observing the 4 Ds:
1. Drain standing water around their homes to reduce mosquito breeding grounds.
2. Dress in pants and long sleeves when outside, but avoid becoming too hot.
3. Apply an insect repellent that contains DEET to exposed skin and to clothing when outdoors.
4. Stay indoors at dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
Symptoms of CHIKV include high fever, joint or muscle pain, headache, swelling or rash. At this time, there is no vaccine or medication for the chikungunya virus but it rarely results in death.