A Williamson County man is the state’s first case of chikungunya, the rare mosquito-borne illness likely brought to America by travelers to the Caribbean.
Infections are rarely fatal but cause severe joint pain, high fever, swelling, rash, and headaches that could last months. Much like avoiding West Nile, residents are advised to wear sleeves at dawn and dusk and wear a mosquito repellant containing the chemical DEET to lower your chances of being bitten. And for the uninitiated, it’s pronounced chik-un-GUNH-ya.
The Texas Department of State Health Services said the Texas patient recently returned from a trip to the Caribbean, which has logged more than 165,000 suspected cases of the viral infection in the past six months. There hasn’t been a local outbreak in the U.S., however, it has sickened more than 60 residents in mostly southern states.
Two species of mosquito can carry the virus and both are found in Texas, the DSHS reported. The state did not reveal any more information about the patient.