State's 1st Case Of Chikungunya Virus Confirmed In Central Texas

(CDC photo/file)

AUSTIN (August 7, 2014) The first human case of the mosquito-borne chikungunya virus in the state has been confirmed in Williamson County, the Department of State Health Services announced Thursday.

The patient with the virus, who was not identified, recently returned to Texas after a trip to the Caribbean, where the virus has been making people ill since late last year, health officials said.

The virus is rarely fatal, but can cause fever and severe joint pain, head and muscle aches, joint swelling and rashes.

Symptoms usually begin to appear within three to seven days of a bite from a mosquito that’s carrying the virus, for which there’s no vaccine or treatment.

Most people who are infected with the virus feel better within a week, but in some cases, longer-term joint pain is possible.

To date, no local spread of the virus has been reported in the U.S., but imported cases such as the one in Williamson County make that possible because mosquitoes that can transmit chikungunya are present in Texas, health officials said.

Those diagnosed with the virus should be careful to avoid exposure to mosquitos during the first week of illness to prevent the spread of the disease, health officials said.

Prevention Tips

Use an approved insect repellent every time you go outside, and follow label instructions

Drain standing water where mosquitoes can breed

Wear long sleeves and pants when outside

Use air conditioning or make sure doors and windows are screened to keep mosquitoes outside