Instances of the chikungunya virus, which is a viral disease that is transmitted by mosquitoes, have spiked in New Jersey and New York, health officials in those areas have reported.
According to the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the disease is transmitted by both Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. They apparently bite mostly in the daytime, and are most prevalent in Southern parts of the United States.
However, recent reports have indicated that the mosquitoes are also swarming in the Eastern parts of the country. Recently, it was found by health officials that 25 cases of the chikungunya virus have been reported in New Jersey, while a whopping 44 cases have been reported in New York.
The CDC reported that the first case of the chikungunya virus to appear in a non-traveler was found in a Florida male. Prior to this, only travelers who went to other countries where the disease is common contracted the virus.
“The arrival of chikungunya virus, first in the tropical Americas and now in the United States, underscores the risks posed by this and other exotic pathogens,” said Roger Nasci, Ph.D., chief of CDC’s Arboviral Diseases Branch. “This emphasizes the importance of CDC’s health security initiatives designed to maintain effective surveillance networks, diagnostic laboratories and mosquito control programs both in the United States and around the world.”
Unfortunately, the CDC is predicting many more cases of the chikungunya virus to be reported in the coming months. Since 2006, the number of imported cases had averaged at around 28 per year in the U.S. However, this year that number is at an incredible 243 cases in U.S. states and territories, and that number will only go up.
People infected with the mosquito-borne virus will experience a number of symptoms, which will appear three to seven days after being bitten. Those symptoms include a fever and joint pain, as well as headaches, joint swelling, and rashes. Usually, the disease does not result in death.
For more information on the chikungunya virus, go to the CDC’s website.