Dallas County Reports Second Case Of Chikungunya Virus | KERA News

Dallas County Reports Second Case Of Chikungunya Virus

Aug 27, 2014

Dallas County Health and Human Services has reported a second case of human Chikungunya. 

The patient contracted the virus after traveling to the Dominican Republic, and was diagnosed after returning to Dallas County.

According to the city of Dallas, the person lives in the 75214 zip code. City and county health officials aren't providing any further details about the patient.

Chikungunya can spread to humans through mosquito bites -- specifically the Aedes mosquito -- and it's most active in the daytime.

The virus is not usually fatal, but people may develop severe complications. A person who’s infected with the virus will develop a high fever and severe joint pain that start suddenly. There is no specific medication to treat Chikungunya.

"The manifestations of the disease are primarily a high fever, intense muscle and joint pain, often accompanied by headache and a rash," said Dr. Cristie Columbus, assistant director of epidemiology and an infectious disease expert with Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas.  

Chikungunya was first discovered in the 1950s in Tanzania. Columbus says most patients in the U.S. with the disease catch it while traveling overseas. 

“However, there was a case reported last month in Florida, in a patient who had not traveled to an endemic area, which raises the suspicion that it had been transmitted by local mosquitos," Columbus told KERA.

You can protect yourself from Chikungunya the same way you would West Nile. Columbus recommends applying bug spray, wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants, and draining standing water.

“The mosquitos that potentially carry Chikungunya are active throughout daylight hours, so we would recommend insect precautions taken whenever one is outside during the day," she said.