Chikungunya fever, the latest virus to be carried by mosquitoes, is turning up in South Carolina, just as health officials predicted.
The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control on Friday confirmed the first case of chikungunya virus this year in a South Carolina resident, an Upstate resident who recently returned from Haiti. The virus, considered to be from Africa or Asia, has been turning up on Caribbean islands. So far the virus has only been identified in the United States in individuals who recently traveled internationally, according to DHEC.
Symptoms are similar to those of dengue fever and include fever, headache, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, rash, and joint pain. They last a few days to a few weeks.
"People who are traveling to areas where mosquito-borne viruses have been identified should take extra precautions to prevent mosquito bites," said Dr. Linda Bell, state epidemiologist with DHEC. Anyone who has recently been to the Caribbean and believes they have been infected should contact their health care provider and stay indoors for at least seven days to avoid spreading the virus to South Carolina mosquitoes, she said. For more information about chikungunya virus, go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, cdc.gov/chikungunya/.