Saturday, July 19, 2014

Chikungunya Virus in the United States

Recently a mosquito-borne virus (sometimes referred to as an Arbovirus) called Chikungunya was diagnosed in an individual from Florida that had not been traveling.  That means this virus is being spread by mosquito to human to mosquito contact now in the United States.

Chikungunya is a virus that is carried by certain species of mosquito.  It is a painful disease that causes high fever and severe joint pain.  The symptoms typically last a week but longer lasting effects have been observed in those that have had the illness.  There is no cure for the disease and the best preventative measures are to avoid mosquito contact by using DEET mosquito repellents, screens on your windows and tents, dumping standing buckets of water and avoiding going into the woods or weedy areas on warm, humid, and/or rainy days. 

They are currently working on an attenuated vaccine for this disease but it is still in trial phase and some joint pain symptoms were described by some trial participants so it needs further study and further modificaiton.  No approved vaccine exists yet for this virus.

This disease, and a host of others, are why vaccines were invented.  If one wants to be healthy and pro-health, they need to be pro-vaccination, otherwise they can end up dead or permanently damaged by a disease.  If they make a successful vaccination for this disease it would be wonderful because it has already reached epidemic proportions.