A woman, only identified as being from eastern Nebraska, is the first in the state to be diagnosed with being infected by a mosquito-borne virus called chikungunya. Health officials stress the virus is not spread person to person.
The Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services says the woman younger than 25 recently traveled to Haiti and most likely got the virus there. She was hospitalized and released. Chikungunya, pronounced “chick-un-gun-ya” causes severe and debilitating pain but deaths are rare.
There is no medication or treatment for chikungunya or vaccine to prevent it. However, there are medicines that help reduce fever and pain. Although patients recover in about a week, some suffer from long-term joint pain.
Outbreaks have occurred in Africa, Europe, Asia, and islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It was found in the Caribbean for the first time last year. The disease is spread through mosquito bites, usually Aedes species that bite during the daytime.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says chikungunya is not currently found in mosquitoes in the United States.