First case of mosquito-borne Chikungunya virus reported in Iowa - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

First case of mosquito-borne Chikungunya virus reported in Iowa

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DES MOINES (KWWL) -

The Iowa Department of Public Health says the first confirmed case of Chikungunya virus has been reported in Iowa.

The IDPH says a man between the ages of 18 and 40 in central Iowa who recently returned from a trip to the Caribbean became sick with the mosquito-borne virus. They say he was not hospitalized and is recovering.

While imported cases of Chikungunya are common in the U.S., Iowa was one of only six states that had not reported a case, until now.

Imported cases occur when someone is bitten by an infected mosquito while traveling outside the country.

About 700 cases of Chikungunya have been reported across the country with all but six occurring in people returning from areas of the Caribbean or South America where infected mosquitoes are common. The six locally-transmitted cases have all been reported in Florida.

“Although it has an exotic-sounding name, Chikungunya is not a ‘new' virus,” IDPH Deputy State Epidemiologist Ann Garvey said in a written statement. “It was first described during an outbreak in Tanzania during the 1950s. What concerns public health officials, however, is that the disease is spreading to new parts of the world, including the Caribbean.

"Since the Caribbean is a popular vacation area, it is likely the number of imported Chikungunya cases into the U.S. will grow as travelers bring the virus home," she added. "A mosquito can carry the virus from one person to another if it bites an infected individual and then bites someone else."

Symptoms of Chikungunya begin to appear about a week after being bitten and include fever and joint pain, headache, muscle pain, joint swelling or rash. Most people feel better within a week, but for some, the joint pain may last for months.

IDPH reminds you to protect yourself against mosquito bites while on vacation or in your own backyard. They say September and October are when mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus are most active.

Seven cases of West Nile virus have been reported in Iowa so far this year.

For more information on West Nile virus, visit http://bit.ly/Ux5ZgW.

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