Fort Worth resident is the second confirmed case of Chikungunya

08/27/2014 5:24 PM

08/27/2014 5:27 PM

A second case of Chikungunya has been confirmed in Tarrant County, this time in a Fort Worth resident who recently visited Puerto Rico.

Tarrant County Public Health officials said it is considered an imported case and that the person’s infectious period ended Aug. 17. There have been no signs of the virus spreading locally.

A second case of Chikungunya also was reported in Dallas County Wednesday, in a person who had recently traveled to the Dominican Republic.

Last week, a Mansfield resident who had traveled to the Caribbean was confirmed as Tarrant County’s first Chikungunya case.

Spread by mosquitoes, Chikungunya causes fever and severe joint pain.

Unlike the West Nile virus, in which only 20 percent of those bitten develop symptoms, 90 percent of those bitten by mosquitoes carrying Chikungunya have symptoms.

But Chikungunya can be spread only when infected humans are bitten by mosquitoes. West Nile is present in the local bird population.

Chikungunya is an African word meaning “that which bends up,” referring to the joint pain the virus causes.

Public health officials warned those traveling to areas of the Caribbean or Central America where the virus is present to wear long sleeves or insect repellent while outdoors. If they develop symptoms, they should see a doctor immediately.

Tarrant County Public Health warned that imported cases could make local spread possible because the Aedes mosquitoes that transmit the virus are found in Texas. Aedes mosquitoes are active and bite during the day, making it vital for people to protect themselves against mosquitoes day and night.

Bill Hanna, 817-390-7698

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