Pitt County Has First Case Of Chikungunya Virus

Health officials in Pitt County say they have confirmed the first case of the chikungunya virus in the county.

The county says the victim is a resident who recently traveled to the Caribbean with family members.

So far there have been 18 confirmed cases of the virus in the state, which is transmitted through the bite of Asian tiger mosquitoes.

Health officials say the Asian tiger mosquito is commonly found in North Carolina, and if infected could transmit the virus here.

There is no vaccine to prevent chikungunya, and antibiotics do not treat it. The most common symptoms are fever and joint pain, but others may also suffer from headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash.

The state says most people will begin to feel better within a week, but some have had effects that last for months. They say the virus rarely results in death.

Mosquitoes in Florida have been found to carry the virus, and have transmitted it to people in that state. So far, all of the North Carolina cases have been infected when people have visited other countries.

Outbreaks have occurred in Africa, Asia, Italy, the islands of the Indian Ocean and Western Pacific, and most recently in multiple Caribbean islands.

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