CABARRUS COUNTY, N.C. - There’s now a confirmed case of the chikungunya virus in Cabarrus County, the first for the county and 10th in the state. Health officials are warning people to use insect repellent and stay away from standing water because there is no vaccine and no treatment for the mosquito virus.
“You don’t know what mosquitoes could have it and what mosquitoes don’t,” resident Christopher Helms said.
Until recently, every case in the United States was from a person who contracted the virus while traveling. But now there are two cases in Florida in which the patients contracted the virus in the United States.
Cabarrus County health officials were notified Tuesday that the county had its first case. They’re preparing for more.
“The likelihood is that we’ll see a continuing spread of this throughout the U.S. as more people acquire it from mosquitoes and more mosquitoes start carrying it in greater numbers,” Public Health Officer William Pilkington said.
Pilkington said people will know if they contract the virus because of the fever and joint pains that come with it. He encourages prevention of the illness.
“The more bites you get, the more chance there is of transmission,” Pilkington said.
Health officials recommend using insect repellent anytime a person is outdoors and getting rid of any standing water near your home.
“Anywhere there’s a small puddle of water, thousands and thousands of mosquitoes can breed,” said Pilkington.