Chikungunya Virus Cases Found In U.S.

July 19, 2014 | By Garrett Montgomery More

Chikungunya Virus

Chikungunya virus hits US and people are looking for answers. For almost two years, the chikungunya virus has been traveling through Caribbean islands like Saint Martin, Puerto Rico and Haiti and last month it arrived in the United States.

Previous cases in the US involved people who traveled but things changed in June and early July, when two individuals living in Florida who did not leave the country contracted the chikungunya virus.

Health experts believe that mosquitoes who were not carrying chikungunya bit people who previously traveled outside of the US and had the virus. The initially uninfected mosquitoes then spread the arthropod-borne virus.

The good news is that the Chikungunya virus is rarely fatal and usually patients recover after one week. In some rare cases, the joint pain it causes can last for years.

The message from health officials nonetheless is for the population to remain calm because there is no real need to panic. Dr. Celeste Philip, who works with the Department of Health said:

“There is no broad risk to the health of the general public.”

Is Philip downplaying the dangers of the chikungunya virus? All of this is a little bit tricky.

On one hand the two home grown cases have been dealt with adequately. The first patient who reported her symptoms on June 10 is 41 and is said to be doing well now. The second patient, a 51-year-old man who disclosed the signs of the chikungunya virus on July 1st has also recuperated.

On the other hand a big awareness campaign to prevent the virus from spreading would not be a bad thing. Prevention is always better than cure and in this case there is no vaccine available at the moment.

The chikungunya virus does not spread for person to person, it can only be caught via mosquito bites. The most effective ways to prevent its spread are mosquito control and avoiding mosquito bites. Here is why we should pay attention when it comes to the chikungunya virus.

We spoke to a French resident living in Saint Martin who contracted the illness in order to better understand it and to know how to prevent it.

In April of 2014 just days before her 54th birthday a woman by the name of Linda living in Saint Martin contracted the chikungunya virus.

The French woman said she was hit with high fever for almost two weeks. She also lost her appetite and had great difficulties opening and closing her hands due to joint pain.

The mother-of-four said that she had to stay in bed because she felt that her body was paralyzed by the fever.

The individual who owns a big garden with several species of tropical plants and flowers believed that mosquitoes that were feeding and living in clay flower pots may have bitten and transmitted the chikungunya virus to her.

Her doctor advised her to drink a lot water and gave her Efferalgan to reduce the pain and help with the fever.

While the fever did leave in about two weeks, the severe joint pain and swelling in her hands persisted for couple of months.

She went on to reveal that her husband of 33 years and her 16-year-old son were hit with the chikungunya virus days after she fell sick.

Her teen rapidly recuperated but her 59-year-old spouse who is diabetic and therefore has a weak immune system was the one who suffered the most.

With many of her neighbors falling sick, she has taken few steps to protect herself and her family from Chikungunya virus that is spreading like wildfire on the friendly island.

They wear long sleeve clothes and no longer have containers such as buckets, flowers pots with water near the family home.

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