The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) announced today the second Delaware case of chikungunya virus in a 51-year-old New Castle County woman. Like the first Delaware case of the disease, the second case is related to Caribbean travel. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) laboratory confirmed the case to DPH on Tuesday. The woman was treated in the hospital in August and released.
Chikungunya is transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes. Person-to-person transmission is rare and there are no documented cases of human transmission in the US. As of September 2, the CDC reported approximately 758 cases in the continental US, with all but seven cases associated with travel. (Florida is the only state that has seen cases that are not related to travel. The state has eight cases to date acquired in residents from local mosquitoes.)
Chikungunya is a potentially debilitating disease characterized by acute onset of fever and joint pains occurring after an incubation period of three to seven days. Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash. People at risk for more severe disease include newborns infected around the time of birth, adults age 65 and older, and people with medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease.
“Given global travel habits, we considered the disease coming to Delaware almost inevitable,” said Dr. Karyl Rattay, DPH director. “It is important to remember that mosquito season is not over and we are urging people to remember to protect themselves from bites both in Delaware and abroad.” To prevent mosquito-borne infections, DPH recommends wearing protective clothing, using mosquito repellents containing DEET and eliminating standing water around your house.