Health department warns of Chikungunya

Published 7:00 am Thursday, June 18, 2015

According to a release from the Mississippi State Department of Health, the first case of chikungunya virus in a Mississippi resident has been confirmed.
The resident recently returned from Honduras.
The release states that last year, there were eight confirmed cases of chikungunya in Mississippi. All of these cases resulted from international travel. Five were from the Dominican Republic, one was from Haiti and one was from Puerto Rico. The Caribbean as well as Central and South America are high-risk areas for chikungunya virus.
Symptoms of the virus can include fever, swelling of the joints as well as muscle pain, the release states. It is extremely rare for chikungunya virus to cause death, however a weak immune system can cause further complications.
The MSDH encourages anyone who thinks they could be infected to see their doctor immediately. It is also recommended that anyone infected with the virus stay indoors for at least 10 days to avoid mosquito bites.
The release states that although chikungunya virus is a threat, the MSDH wants to remind Mississippi residents that West Nile virus is a more serious threat.
According to the release, in the 43 reported cases of West Nile virus in Mississippi last year, seven resulted in death.
According to MSDH, there are several precautions that can be taken to guard against mosquito-borne illness including using a recommended mosquito repellent while outdoors, remove standing water from the yard to prevent mosquitos from breeding and avoiding mosquito populated areas such as swamps.
For more information on chikungunya and other mosquito-borne illnesses, visit the MSDH website at

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