ABC News doctor: ‘NC really needs to pay attention to chikungunya'



CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A mosquito-borne virus that has already hit North Carolina is spreading.

There are three confirmed chikungunya cases in Alamance, Buncombe and Forsyth counties.

There are also new confirmed cases of in Texas and Massachusetts.

The virus was brought to the U.S. by infected travelers who had recently been to the Caribbean.

One woman who went on a mission trip to Haiti last month said within days of coming home she started experiencing painful symptoms.

“My joints were hurting really bad. I was like getting really out of breath and like having a fever, really dizzy and kind of out of it,” said victim Ashley Manning.

The virus is rarely fatal, but there is no medication or vaccine to prevent infection and no known treatment.

ABC News health expert Dr. Richard Besser talked with Monday about the chikungunya virus.

Besser said the biggest concern is the virus will be found in mosquitoes in the U.S. and not just through traveling.

There is no medicine for the virus and the mosquitoe bite during the day.

Besser said people need to use mosquito repellent and sunscreen when heading to the beach.

He said residents of North Carolina really need to pay attention because the mosquitoes in the state would be great hosts for the virus.
Besser said to get rid of free-standing water at your homes and replace screens with holes in them.

As far as the name chikungunya, Besser said the symptoms of the virus are fever, headache, muscle ache, but the hallmark symptom is joint pain. The word chikungunya means walking stooped over.

Besser said people with the virus could have joint pain for many years, so it’s important to avoid altogether.


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