Garland, Texas health officials confirmed the first case of imported Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) in the city in 2015. The individual was infected with the virus during recent travel to Mexico and is no longer contagious.
CHIKV is transmitted from person to person by mosquitoes. The virus causes high fever, severe joint pain, headache, muscle pain and rash. CHIKV does not often result in death, but the symptoms can be severe and disabling. There is no specific medication or vaccine available to treat CHIKV. Avoiding mosquito bites is the best way to prevent CHIKV.
Texas has reported 14 chikungunya cases this year, all travel associated. Nationally, as of Tuesday, a total of 273 chikungunya virus disease cases have been reported to ArboNET from 36 U.S. states for 2015. All reported cases occurred in travelers returning from affected areas. No locally-transmitted cases have been reported from U.S. states.
Mexico has reported a surge in chikungunya cases in recent months with the total confirmed autochthonous cases in 2015 to date at 3,306.
The Garland Health Department (GHD) encourages citizens to take preventative measures to minimize the risk of exposure to mosquito-borne diseases such as CHIKV. To protect yourself from exposure to such diseases, limit outdoor activity during evening and early morning hours when mosquitoes are most active. While outdoors, wear light-colored, long-sleeved clothing, and use an insect repellent containing DEET, according to its label directions. Most importantly, citizens should take measures to eliminate any standing water on their property, such as birdbaths (clean them twice per week), pet water dishes, clogged rain gutters, tires, and buckets. Containers that can hold an inch or two of water for just a few days can breed mosquitoes. Report any standing water that you are not able to eliminate yourself to the GHD.