Iowa reports first case of mosquito-borne Chikungunya virus

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The Iowa Department of Public Health has confirmed the first case of Chikungunya in the state.

A man from central Iowa, who recently returned from a trip to the Caribbean, was recovering from the mosquito-borne virus according to a September 3, 2014 statement from the state’s health department.

Before this case, Iowa was one of only six states that had not reported an ‘imported’ case of Chikungunya involving a person bitten by an infected mosquito outside of the state.

Chikungunya was first identified in an outbreak in Tanzania in the 1950s.  A major outbreak, involving more than 100,000 reported cases, happened in the Caribbean in 2014.  Because that area is popular for American tourists, the number of U.S. cases has also increased.

Chikungunya can cause fever, joint pain and arthritis-like symptoms.  The virus is not deadly and most people feel better within a week, but the joint pain and other symptoms can last for months.  Sufferers with joint pain sometimes take on a stooped appearance.

Chikungunya is transmitted by mosquitoes that bite an infected person and then bite someone else.  Symptoms of the illness usually appear within a week of being bitten by an infected mosquito.

Iowa health authorities say prevention is best:  Wear insect repellent when you are outdoors, remove mosquito breeding areas by emptying outdoor containers that collect water.