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Experts concerned about dangerous mosquito-borne virus

Updated: Tuesday, June 17, 2014 |
Experts concerned about dangerous mosquito-borne virus  story image
NEWSCHANNEL 3 - Health experts are warning a dangerous virus carried by mosquitoes has made its way to the United States.
    
The chikungunya virus or “chik-v” has been called a "miserable infection."
    
The virus has sickened more than 100-thousand people in the Caribbean over the past few years.
    
Now cases have been confirmed in 15 states, including Indiana and Minnesota.
    
Symptoms include a high fever lasting up to a week and severe pain.
    
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no vaccine to prevent chik-v and there is no medicine to treat it.
    
The virus is not considered deadly, but those infected say it is incredibly uncomfortable.
    
All Americans who have contracted chik-v became sick after visiting countries where it is common.
    
So far there is no evidence mosquitoes in the US carry the virus, but researchers worry it may spread here soon.

"There's a concern that people from the United States who go to the Caribbean might be bitten by infected mosquitoes and then bring this illness, this virus, back to the United States,” says Dr. William Schaffner of Vanderbilt University’s Department of Preventative Medicine. “We have the kind of mosquito that will transmit this virus here in the US."
    
The best course of action against chik-v is prevention.
    
The CDC recommends using bug spray, wearing long sleeves or pants and staying indoors, especially if you are traveling somewhere that chik-v is common like Africa, Asia, Europe or the Caribbean.

For more information on chik-v, click here.

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