Local News

NC reports first case of mosquito-borne chikungunya virus

Posted June 12, 2014

N.C. health, mental health, Medicaid generic

— 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.


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  • common tater Jun 13, 2014

    With unchecked immigration, legal and illegal, every new virus that pops up will spread rapidly.

  • Itsmyopinion67 Jun 13, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Obvious fear mongering to further the liberal agenda.

  • yesplease Jun 12, 2014

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    it's not really a matter of feeding pattern but rather whether a certain species of mosquito can support replication of a given virus. For example aedes aegypti is very good at supporting replication of dengue, yellow fever, and chikungunya. However, west Nile is primarily transmitted by another species, culex pipiens, in the US at least. Aedes albopictus, the tiger mosquito, can transmit dengue, chikungunya and a host of others. It is not as good a vector for dengue and chik as aegypti but it's spreading very aggressively into new areas and thus could be important in transmitting these diseases. The predominant factor for the spread of these viruses is whether a suitable vector is around or not.

  • Bradley Green Jun 12, 2014
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    The Asian Tiger mosquitoes seem to be fairly similar in their eating patterns to those in the Caribbean, so they are quite capable of spreading the virus, unfortunately.

  • Eric Hammond Jun 12, 2014
    user avatar


    you are correct people have died due to complications from chikungunya but it is exceedingly RARE and usually associated with comorbid infections. according to the CDC chikungunya and Dengue fever are clinically very similar, but Dengue causes far more fatalities. (and Dengue fever IS and has been in the U.S. for YEARS - "world wide since the 1950's"

    sorry, but I have an annoying tendency to LOOK THE FACTS UP... something the radical right-wing despises

  • luvstoQ Jun 12, 2014

    SIXNITEPKG, thanks for speaking so 'lightly' about arthritic pain in the joints - it's fairly clear you aren't in the age group that usually suffers from what you dismiss so easily!

    No, it shouldn't be used as an 'excuse' for abusing pain meds, but I'll tell you right now the pain will sometimes make you want to.

  • yesplease Jun 12, 2014

    Just because the disease has not established itself yet in the US does not mean that it cannot happen. West Nile was imported into the US in 1999 and is here to stay because suitable vectors (mosquitoes) are present here. The same is true for Chikungunya. Suitable vectors are present in the US and are spreading their range. The disease might establish itself here or it might not, who knows. Dismissing the possibility of tropical diseases being imported is shortsighted. After all Yellow fever once reached up as far north as Boston.......

  • landonsgrampa Jun 12, 2014

    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)...Written by SIXNITEPKG

    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.....Written in this article.

    How do you miss an entire paragraph?

  • Moonlight Jun 12, 2014

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    ...and instead of complaining about the info, if you actually read the article..its said mosquitos can continue to spread it person to person here...that's why they gave examples of how to keep them at bay.

  • Anita Woody Jun 12, 2014

    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.