One case of a severe mosquito-borne disease has been confirmed in Texas, and has health officials warning locals about how to prevent infection. The Chikungunya virus is typically contracted from traveling, but it was scientifically confirmed last month that a Texan contracted it from a mosquito locally. The case was from a person who lived in Brownsville, Texas, just north of the Mexican border.
The Chikungunya virus is carried by the Aedes Agypti mosquito — the same type that carries the Zika virus. Symptoms of the virus include possibly debilitating joint pain and fever. It’s not typically fatal, but as always, people at the highest risk are the elderly and young children.
Health officials have instructed people to try to keep their yards free of standing water and always protect your skin from mosquitos, both day and night. “These are your backyard mosquitoes, and they’re the daytime mosquitoes,” warns Dr. James Castillo of the Cameron County’s health authority. “They treat people like a buffet. They hop from one person to the other, and they taste a little bit of everybody, and that’s how they spread it.”
The patient who contracted the disease in Texas was actually screened in November 2015, but the case wasn’t reported or confirmed by the CDC until just last month. Dr. Castillo adds that there is no evidence to support that the virus has spread among the local mosquito population.
According to KRGV, this case of the Chikungunya was the first locally-contracted confirmed one in the United States since 2014. The virus is more rampant and usually contracted in the Caribbean and Central and South America.