North Carolina’s sixteenth case of chikungunya was confirmed in an Iredell County resident who recently traveled out of the country. Currently, none of the reported cases of this viral infection have been acquired in North Carolina. Travelers to affected areas in Africa, Asia, the islands of the Indian Ocean, Western Pacific, the Caribbean and since July 2013, Florida, can acquire the virus.
Chikungunya virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito, and the Asian Tiger mosquito that is commonly found in North Carolina could effectively transmit this virus. Symptoms of chikungunya typically include the sudden onset of fever and severe, often disabling, joint pains in the hands and feet. Symptoms usually begin three to seven days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) Division of Public Health and Iredell County Health Department advises persons traveling to countries where chikungunya transmission is occurring to adhere to personal precautions in preventing mosquito bites, and contact a medical provider if they develop any symptoms upon their return home. The best way to prevent chikungunya virus and all diseases transmitted by mosquitoes is to avoid mosquito bites. Take these simple steps to protect yourself and others.
2. Prevent getting mosquito bites:
- Reduce time outdoors during early morning and evening hours when mosquitoes are most active.
- Use mosquito repellents containing DEET or other EPA approved repellent (includes Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus). Use as often as recommended by product directions to achieve the best protection.
- Spray clothing with a repellent containing permethrin to offer another layer of protection
- Cover skin with light colored, long pants and long-sleeved shirts
2. Immediately seek medical care if person develops fever within two weeks of returning home from travel abroad.
3. Getting rid of standing water is the most important thing you can do to prevent mosquitoes around your home & our community. Take these simple steps to “Tip and Toss” standing water.
- Look around your home or neighborhood for items that can hold water – like cans, bottles, tires, flower pots, and tree stumps. Tip and Toss standing water.
- Get rid of water on plastic covers on woodpiles, sand boxes or pools. o Change the water in bird baths and pet bowls at least two times a week. o Fix leaky outdoor faucets. o Cover rain barrels with tight-fitting screens or lids.
- Keep gutters clean.
- Stock ponds with fish that will eat mosquito larvae. Treat water with products from a local hardware store that will kill young mosquitoes.
To learn more about chikungunya virus and other mosquito borne illnesses, please visit:
To learn more about chikungunya and its introduction into the Americas, please visit:
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