Eighth case of chikungunya confirmed in Texas - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Eighth case of chikungunya confirmed in Texas

(KLTV) - The Texas Department of State Health and Human Services has confirmed the eighth case of chikungunya in the Lone Star State - this time in Dallas.

The cases have been confirmed in Bexar, Dallas, Gonzales, Harris, Montgomery, Travis, and Williamson counties. 

The cases have been imported, meaning that travelers have acquired the illness while visiting areas where the virus is more common. However, the cases mean there is a potential for chikungunya to spread in Texas because the Aedes mosquitoes that transmit the disease are present in the state.

Infections are rarely fatal but can cause severe joint pain, high fever, head and muscle aches, joint swelling and rash. Symptoms usually begin three to seven days after being bitten by a mosquito. There is no vaccine or treatment for the virus. Most people feel better within a week, though some people may develop longer-term joint pain.

Chikungunya is not transmitted from direct person to person contact, but a person with the disease can be the source of the virus for mosquitoes that can then transmit the virus to others through a bite. To prevent the spread of the disease, people with chikungunya illness should be especially careful to avoid exposure to mosquitoes during the first week of illness.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with recent outbreaks in the Caribbean and the Pacific, the number of chikungunya cases among travelers visiting or returning to the United States from affected areas will likely increase. Cases have occurred in Africa, Southern Europe, Southeast Asia, and islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

Copyright 2014 KLTV. All rights reserved.

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