State health officials confirm 2 new cases of Chikungunya - WDAM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

State health officials confirm 2 new cases of Chikungunya

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The Mississippi State Department of Health has confirmed two new cases of chikungunya virus in Mississippi.

These cases occurred in residents who recently returned from the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

MSDH says that these new cases are in addition to a case reported in June of the virus in a MS resident who had just returned from Haiti.

Chikungunya is a mosquito-borne illness traditionally found in Africa and Asia. It has recently appeared in the Caribbean, and according to MSDH could possibly infect Mississippians who travel there.

Symptoms of chikungunya include fever, muscle and joint pain, and swelling of the joints.

Deaths from chikungunya virus are rare, but anyone with a compromised immune system is at higher risk of complications from the infection.

"Chikungunya virus is spread from person to person through the bite of the Aedes mosquito," said MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Thomas Dobbs. "It's very important for travelers to the Dominic Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and other Caribbean nations to be especially careful and take proper precautions to protect themselves."

The MSDH suggests the following precautions to protect yourself and your environment from chikungunya and West Nile virus:

  • 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 chikungunya virus are especially active during the day.

MSDH says that anyone who thinks they might be infected with chikungunya virus should see their healthcare provider and stay indoors for at least 10 days to avoid mosquito bites as native Mississippi mosquitoes could spread the virus to other people.

For more information on chikungunya or other mosquito-borne illnesses, visit the MSDH website at www.HealthyMS.com.

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