Mich. reports 2 cases of chikungunya
The virus cannot spread from human-to-human contact and is not expected to be widespread in the U.S.
By John Kennett
The Midland Daily News
MIDLAND COUNTY, Mich. — Midland County recently saw its first case of the chikungunya virus. The virus, which cannot be transmitted from person to person, originates in the Caribbean and is not highly communicable, according to a local official.
"It is not real serious as far as a big outbreak and we're not expecting that," said county Health Director Mike Krecek. "It is not a life-threatening virus. It can cause fever and pretty severe joint pain that may last two to three weeks."
The chikungunya virus is transmitted to people through mosquito bites, according to The Centers for Disease Control website. "Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on a person already infected with the virus. Infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to other people through bites," according to the CDC.
"Anybody visiting the Caribbean that is exposed to mosquitoes can get the disease," Krecek said. "We do send a lot of mission folks to the Caribbean and we expect to see more cases as people travel to the Caribbean."
There is not much likelihood of the virus being spread in the states.
"People are only communicable for about a week," Krecek said. "Someone would have to be bit the last couple of days down there and not have symptoms before arriving home."
Michigan has seen two cases of the virus, the case reported in Midland County and another in Wexford County.
"It's odd, the two cases are in northern counties with small populations," Krecek said.
The CDC states that most people infected with the chikungunya virus will develop some symptoms. Those symptoms usually begin three to seven days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Besides fever and joint pain, other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling or rash.
Although there is no medicine to treat the virus infection or disease, the symptoms can be severe and disabling. Most patients feel better within a week.
Newborns, older adults (over 65) and people with medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes or heart disease are more susceptible to the virus.
For people who have the virus, the CDC recommends getting plenty of rest, drinking fluids to prevent dehydration and taking medicines, such as ibuprofen, naproxen, acetaminophen or paracetamol to relieve fever and pain.
When traveling to countries with the chikungunya virus, travellers should use insect repellent, wear long sleeves and pants, and stay in places with air conditioning or use window and door screens.
For more information on the virus, visit cdc.gov/chikungunya
(c)2014 the Midland Daily News (Midland, Mich.)
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