Chikungunya — named for African word for “that which bends up” due to the joint pain it causes — is a virus spread by infected mosquitoes. Outbreaks have occurred in Africa, Asia, Europe, Indian and the Pacific islands, but found its way to America via the Caribbean in 2006.
An average of 28 cases per year have been reported in the US over the past eight years among travelers to affected areas, but the numbers of cases have continued to rise in 2014.
Who’s at risk?
Deaths from Chikungunya are rare but, in severe cases, its painful symptoms can last weeks or years. These complications are more common in infants (under one year old), the elderly (age 65 and over) and people with chronic conditions, such as weak immune systems, diabetes or hypertension.
- Sudden onset of high fever (greater than 102°F)
- Muscle aches
- Severe joint pain (mainly in arms, legs and back)
There are no specific medications for this virus, but medicines (other than aspirin) can be used to lower fever or reduce joint pain. Consult your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms.
Find out more about the Chikungunya through your health care provider, or use the resources available on these government public health sites:
- Tarrant County Public Health
- Department of State Health Services
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Mosquito traps have been placed at 42 Fort Worth fire stations, and will monitored. Mosquitoes will be tested, in partnership with Tarrant County Public Health, for West Nile virus and St. Louis encephalitis.
Mosquitoes are not tested for the Zika virus since this virus hasn’t been identified locally.
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