AUSTIN (July 8, 2014) The state’s first human case of the mosquito-borne virus chikungunya that’s spreading rapidly in the Caribbean and parts of Latin America has been confirmed in Central Texas.
A Williamson County resident who recently returned from the Caribbean has been diagnosed with the virus, the Texas Department of State Health Services said.
The virus is rarely fatal, but can cause fever and severe joint pain.
It’s not transmitted through direct person-to-person contact, but someone with the disease can be the source of the virus for mosquitoes, which can then transmit the virus to others.
There is no vaccine and the main treatment is pain medication.
The virus has spread rapidly through the Caribbean and parts of Latin America after local transmission first started late last year.
No local spread of the virus has been reported in the continental U.S., but last month U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to issue a health alert to medical professionals in New York and around the country for identifying, treating and containing the the virus.
One of the mosquito species that carries the virus is prevalent in Brazil and Schumer said the numbers could increase dramatically with the return of soccer fans from the World Cup.