Chikungunya could make its way to MS - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Chikungunya could make its way to MS

 

Could the mosquito borne illness, Chikungunya be making its way to Mississippi? How can you prevent and protect yourself?

The Mississippi State Department of Health is stressing to Mississippi residents, protect yourself against mosquitoes. From Chikungunya to West Nile, these viruses are serious and you should take precautions.

Chikungunya, a virus spread from person to person through the instant bite of a mosquito is a real concern to the United States.

Dr. Thomas Dobbs says, "the disease can be pretty debilitating. It's rarely fatal, but can cause severe muscle pain, joint aches and fever. So, it's a very nasty illness."

The virus is normally found in Africa, Asia and most recently an outbreak in the Caribbean. So is this virus making it's way into Mississippi?

Dobbs says, "although the mosquitoes spreading Chikungunya in the Caribbean are not typically present in Mississippi there are other mosquitoes that are potential vectors. So they could possibly spread the virus if a Mississippi resident returned from a Caribbean Island, such as Haiti, with Chikungunya.

Right now the Mississippi State Department of Health is investigating one potential case in our state. According to the Center for Disease Control, the virus is not widespread in the United States right now. State Epidemiologist Doctor Thomas Dobbs says it is critical for you to protect yourself not only against Chikungunya, but other viruses such as West Nile.

Dobbs says, "if you are outdoors, where deet. Wear long clothing if possible, be aware of mosquitoes and the most important thing to do is make sure that any standing water, blocked gutters are cleaned up around your property. These mosquitoes don't really travel very far and if you can protect your environment from mosquitoes then you can protect yourself.

According to the Center for Disease Control, a 57 people have reportedly contracted Chikungunya in 13 different states. And again, this is something to be aware of, but right now it is reportedly not spreading in the United States.

 

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