SuperTalk Mississippi

Beware Travelers: Another Mississippian With Chikungunya

JACKSON, Miss.–If you plan to go to Haiti or the Dominican Republic, you should know that you could get the chikungunya virus there. Another Mississippian was reported to have the illness Monday by the state Dept. of Health.

The name sounds funny, but the disease is no laughing matter, said the Health Dept. in a news release.

“Unlike West Nile virus, chikungunya virus infection is rarely fatal. It can cause illness for 7 to 10 days, however, and those infected with chikungunya are more likely to develop symptoms. Infection can cause fever, flu-like symptoms and painful swelling of the joints.”

Just like the three people confirmed to have it before, the person whose case was just confirmed recently returned from the Dominican Republic.

The disease originates there and in Haiti, mostly.

This is from a Health Dept. news release:

A mosquito-borne illness traditionally found in Africa and Asia, chikungunya virus is now infecting more and more people throughout the Caribbean, and could infect Mississippians who travel there.

Symptoms of chikungunya infection include fever, muscle and joint pain, and swelling of the joints. Deaths from chikungunya virus are rare, but anyone with a compromised immune system is at higher risk of complications from the infection.

Additionally, the MSDH has detected West Nile virus (WNV)-positive mosquitoes in Hinds County. Mosquito testing is often done in counties where a higher number of human cases have occurred in previous years. WNV-positive mosquitoes indicate that WNV is circulating in the state and that all residents, regardless of location, should take precautions.

So far, two human cases of WNV have been reported in Hinds and Newton counties this year.

The MSDH suggests the following precautions to protect yourself and your environment from mosquito-borne illnesses:

  • Use a recommended mosquito repellent that contains DEET while you are outdoors.
  • Remove all sources of standing water around your home and yard to prevent mosquito breeding.
  • Wear loose, light-colored, long clothing to cover the arms and legs when outdoors.
  • Avoid areas where mosquitoes are prevalent. Mosquitoes that carry chikungunya virus are especially active during the day, while the mosquitoes that carry WNV are active from dusk until dawn.
  • Travelers to the Caribbean should take precautions against mosquito exposure. Please see for more information.

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