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Fight back against Chikungunya

  • Published
  • By Public Health Flight
  • 82d AMDS
Since the beginning of 2014, there have been 497 reported cases of the Chikungunya virus in the United States, which has exceeded the average 28 infections in the past years. 

The virus causes severe fever and joint pain that lasts for weeks.  There is no cure.  Chikungunya is a mission threatening infectious disease and personnel must remain vigilant and educated on best prevention practices.

Chikungunya is an infection transmitted through the bite of the Aedes species of mosquitoes.  This species of mosquitoes are widespread in Texas, and the disease has been confirmed in mosquitoes in the South Central region of the state.  In addition, the mosquitoes are aggressive daytime biters, and rampant throughout most of the working day hours.

Some of the symptoms include headache, rash, joint swelling and muscle pain, with fever and joint pain being the most common reported symptoms.  Most people will feel better within a week.  However, some people are never relieved of the debilitating joint pain.  This virus is misdiagnosed as Dengue fever very often due to similar symptoms.

There is no treatment or cure for the Chikungunya virus.  If infected, a person must rest, drink plenty of fluids and take pain relieving and fever reducing medicine.

Prevention is key. The best way to prevent exposure from the virus is to avoid mosquito bites.  Public Health recommends using bug spray containing at least 40% DEET, removing harboring areas and standing water around the  home, and patching any holes in screen doors or windows.  If someone develops any symptoms of Chikungunya, contact a medical provider immediately.

For more information regarding the Chikungunya virus or information on mosquitos, please contact the 82d AMDS Public Health Flight at 676-1874/3052 or visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website at: