First case of mosquito-borne Chikungunya reported in Texas

The first locally-acquired case of Chikungunya disease, a mosquito-borne disease, has been reported and confirmed in Texas, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

A Cameron County resident became sick with the illness in November 2015, and was diagnosed with a lab test in January 2016. The case was not reported to the local health department until April, the department said.

The investigation performed by the Cameron County Department of Health and Human Services determined the patient had not traveled and the case was confirmed last week by testing at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Chikungunya disease is a viral illness spread by mosquitoes and was first detected in travelers returning to Texas from areas with local transmission in 2014. All previous Texas residents who contracted the illness were infected while traveling abroad.

Because this particular case was contracted more than six months ago and mosquito surveillance has not found Chikungunya in local mosquitoes, the primary risk of infection remains related to travel. DSHS is encouraging people to protect themselves from mosquito bites at home and while traveling to stop the spread of Chikungunya, Zika and West Nile virus.

Chikungunya and most other viruses transmitted by mosquitoes are required to be reported to the local health department or DSHS regional office within one week. DSHS reminds laboratories and health care providers to report cases promptly so health officials will have the information they need to make decisions that will protect public health.

Chikungunya is rarely fatal but can cause severe joint pain, high fever, head and muscle aches, joint swelling and rash. Most people feel better within a week, though some may develop longer-term joint pain.