The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced the first confirmed case of Chikungunya virus in Iowa. A Central Iowa adult male who recently returned from a trip to the Caribbean became ill with the mosquito-borne virus; he was not hospitalized and is recovering.
“Although it has an exotic-sounding name, Chikungunya is not a ‘new’ virus,” said IDPH Deputy State Epidemiologist Ann Garvey. “It was first described during an outbreak in Tanzania during the 1950s. What concerns public health officials, however, is that the disease is spreading to new parts of the world, including the Caribbean. Since the Caribbean is a popular vacation area, it is likely the number of imported Chikungunya cases into the U.S. will grow as travelers bring the virus home.” A mosquito can carry the virus from one person to another if it bites an infected individual and then bites someone else.
It’s important to remember to protect yourself against mosquito bites whether you are on a vacation far away or in your own backyard. In Iowa, September and October are the months when mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus are the most active. So far this year, seven cases of West Nile virus have been reported in Iowa and surveillance shows mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus are active in nearly all parts of the state. Remember to wear insect repellent when outdoors and remove mosquito breeding areas by emptying outdoor containers that collect water – like bird baths or kiddie pools.
As of September 2, a total of 758 imported and locally acquired chikungunya virus disease cases have been reported to CDC ArboNET from U.S. states.
Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes such as Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. It can cause high fever, join and muscle pain, and headache. Chikungunya does not often result in death, but the joint pain may last for months or years and may become a cause of chronic pain and disability. There is no specific treatment for chikungunya infection, nor any vaccine to prevent it. Pending the development of a new vaccine, the only effective means of prevention is to protect individuals against mosquito bites. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page