Chikungunya Mosquito Virus

Chikungunya mosquito virus carrier
Chikungunya mosquito virus carrier

Chikungunya virus carried by aedes mosquito

Chikungunya virus (pronunciation: chik-en-gun-ye) virus,   is transmitted to people through mosquito bites. The cycle is that female Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictusmosquitoes mosquitoes become infected when they feed on a person already infected with the chikungunya virus. Then, the infected mosquitoes bite other people and spread the virus to them.  The female mosquitoes are biting attacking in order to receive a blood meal to feed their eggs. The Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictusmosquitoes, which bit mostly in the daytime, are the same mosquitoes that transmit dengue virus.

Chikungunya virus is transmitted to people by two species of mosquitoes, Aedes aegypti andAedes albopictus. Both species are found in the southeastern United States and limited parts of the Southwest; Aedes albopictus is also found further north up the East Coast, through the Mid-Atlantic States, and is also found in the lower Midwest.

People infected with Chikungunya virus typically develop fever and joint pain. Other symptoms can include muscle aches, headaches, joint swelling or rash. This virus is not spread person to person. There is no vaccine and no specific treatment for infection.

According to the CDC (The Center for Disease Control): Prior to 2006, Chikungunya virus disease was rarely identified.  From 2006‒2013, studies identified an average of 28 people per year in the United States with positive tests for recent Chikungunya virus infection (Range 5‒65 per year). All were travelers visiting or returning to the United States from affected areas in Asia, Africa, or the Indian Ocean. In late 2013, the first local transmission of Chikungunya virus in the Americas was identified in Caribbean countries and territories. Local transmission means that mosquitoes in the area have been infected with the virus and are spreading it to people. Beginning in 2014, Chikungunya virus disease cases were reported among U.S. travelers returning from affected areas in the Americas and local transmission was identified in Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Now Chikungunya is wide spread.  For example, in August 2015, in Texas, DSHS has confirmed 19 cases of chikungunya in 2015. All reported cases in Texas cases have been imported, meaning that travelers have acquired the illness while visiting parts of the world where the virus is more common. However, those imported cases mean there is a potential for chikungunya to spread in Texas because the Aedes mosquitoes that transmit it are present in the state. As of August 18, 2015, a total of 294 chikungunya virus disease cases have been reported to ArboNET from 36 U.S. states for 2015.

Chikungunya does not usually cause death, but the symptoms can be severe and disabling. Symptoms usually begin 3–7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Symptoms may only last 2-3 days, but can be ongoing for other people for months. The most common symptoms are fever and joint pain. Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash. There is no medicine for Chikungunya, all you can do is treat the symptoms with pain and fever relievers and drink plenty of fluids just like any other virus. As with most illnesses, the most vulnerable for serious complications are the very young, very old, and people with serious medical conditions. The good news is that once you have been infected and had the virus, you should be protected against contracting Chikungunya in the future.

The only way to prevent Chikungunya is to protect yourself from being bite by mosquitoes.  There are several tips on this site to use to prevent being bitten.  Keep your landscape treated, wear mosquito repellent, wear long sleeves and pants, and try to avoid being outside during the dusk and dawn times when they tend to be worse.  Unfortunately the mosquitoes that carry this disease are out all day, so you must protect yourself at all times.

If you think you have contracted the Chikungunya virus, contact your doctor.

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