Local News

NC reports first case of mosquito-borne chikungunya virus

Posted June 12

— State health officials reported Thursday that a resident who recently traveled to the Caribbean has the first confirmed case in North Carolina of chikungunya, a virus transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito.

There are no documented cases of the virus being acquired in North Carolina or the continental United States, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. But the Asian tiger mosquito, which is common in North Carolina, could transmit the virus.

Infected persons usually experience the sudden onset of fever and severe joint pain in the hands and feet. The pain typically improves within a week, but it may last for months or years in some patients.

Vulnerable groups, including newborns, those over 65 and those with chronic illness, risk a more severe form of the disease. In rare cases, patients have died.

The state did not give the gender, age, location or condition of the infected person in North Carolina.

Health officials said chikunguya was first found in East Africa, India, the Indian Ocean and western Pacific. It made its way to the Caribbean last December through travelers returning from affected areas.

As of June 6, more than 130,000 people in the Caribbean have become ill with the virus, according to the World Health Organization. There are 27 confirmed cases in the United States.

"With North Carolina residents traveling to and from the Caribbean and other affected areas, we have been monitoring for possible imported cases," State Epidemiologist Dr. Megan Davies said. "Anyone experiencing symptoms of chikungunya should contact a physician and minimize exposure to mosquitoes to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to others. Travelers who visit countries where chikungunya is widespread should take extra precaution against mosquito bites."

The Division of Public Health is advising residents to discourage breeding of the Asian tiger mosquito, which is aggressive in daylight and can breed in small water containers. Residents should remove outside containers that can hold water, frequently change water in bird baths and pet bowls, repair leaky outdoor faucets, tightly cover rain barrels, keep gutters clean and use screens on windows and doors.

19 Comments

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  • Jimm57 Jun 12, 12:14 p.m.

    What a cute lil' fella! Imagine if mosquitos really were this big?

  • sixnitepkg Jun 12, 12:16 p.m.

    oooh the dreaded chikungunya virus!!!

    just for those who might be frightened by this "chikungunya" means "that which bends up" for the cramping, and joint pain - much like flu aches and pains, BUT what they DO NOT TELL YOU is that it is FAR less dangerous than the flu as far as mortality - no one has died from this (about as dangerous as the common cold actually) most people may feel rotten for a week or so, but you'll live, The bad part of this is the long term aches, pain and arthritis-like symptoms that many people will use as an excuse for abuse of narcotics!

  • SomewhereLeftOfRTP Jun 12, 12:19 p.m.

    Well, thanks for bringing us back that souvenir, I guess.

    I really, really hope this infected individual wasn't bitten by any local mosquitoes, who then managed to get away with the virus...

  • letsgocanes Jun 12, 12:23 p.m.

    What a stupid click-bait headline. You'd think from reading that someone actually got it from a mosquito in NC, but no, they were somewhere ENTIRELY different and just live here.

  • MudLife Jun 12, 12:25 p.m.

    When I read the headline it was like the mosquito bit them in NC. Not in the Carribean.

  • abwhite88 Jun 12, 12:28 p.m.

    Let the panic begin.

  • scubagirl2 Jun 12, 12:31 p.m.

    oooh the dreaded chikungunya virus!!!

    just for those who might be frightened by this... View More

    — Posted by sixnitepkg

    MAYBE, MOST LIKELY one will NOT die from this but some HAVE so your statement is a bit off. As to folks using the pain & arthritis-like symptoms as an excuse......do you or have you ever HAD arthritis-like symptoms? I have and trust me you don't want to.....

  • SomewhereLeftOfRTP Jun 12, 12:35 p.m.

    oooh the dreaded chikungunya virus!!!

    just for those who might be frightened by this... View More

    — Posted by sixnitepkg

    Long-term, intractable pain is not an excuse for abuse of narcotics. It's a valid reason for use of narcotics. That's what they're for.

  • NoMoreOfThat Jun 12, 12:58 p.m.

    First case of what? Never heard of it. Is it the disease of the week? Because we know you guys in the media like to have something new to worry the public with every week.

    So what should we do about it Government and media? Should we all quit our jobs and lock ourselves in our homes? Wrap ourselves in screen and duct tape it around our bodies?

    This is the least of our concerns. Should I remind you who our President is? I'm sure he'll have a solution for us.

  • Anita Woody Jun 12, 1:25 p.m.

    I figured this virus would make it here soon. I saw it on BBC over the winter. Everybody who gets it says they just wish they were dead the joint pain from it literally makes you disabled for many days.

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