A previously reported indigenous case of the mosquito borne viral disease, chikungunya, in Gandia city, Spain is now being called a “false alarm” by local health authorities.

Aedes aegypti/CDC
Aedes aegypti/CDC

Two months ago, the Spanish Ministry of Health reported on a autochthonous, or locally acquired case of chikungunya in a 60-year-old man from Valencian Community, Gandia. However, in a report on the Spanish news site, El Pais reports Friday the man thought to have been first to contract virus on Spanish soil did not have disease.

Valencia regional health officials said the first test on the man was a false positive, the report notes. A second test conducted in a laboratory in Majadahonda, Madrid, came back negative and a third confirmed the new result.

This means that all 21 chikungunya cases reported in Spain this year are considered imported.

The vector for chikungunya, dengue fever and other viral illnesses was first seen in Spain 11 years ago.

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.

Robert Herriman is a microbiologist and the Editor-in-Chief of Outbreak News Today and the Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch

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