SC health officials confirm 1st case of chikungunya


SOUTH CAROLINA - The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control has confirmed the first case of chikungunya virus this year in a South Carolina resident.

The case occurred in an upstate resident who recently returned from a trip to Haiti.

Chikungunya virus, an incurable mosquito-borne illness traditionally found in Africa and Asia, was recently identified in the Caribbean.

The symptoms of chikungunya are headache, fever, rash, joint swelling or muscle pain. So far the virus has only been identified in the United States in individuals who recently traveled internationally.

The 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.

ABC News health expert Dr. Richard Besser talked with 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 mosquitoes bite during the day.

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

Watch Besser's interview here.