Chikungunya is an infection caused by the chikungunya virus, which is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito, similar to West Nile virus. Chikungunya was first identified during an outbreak in 1952 in southern Tanzania and outbreaks have been reported in Africa, southern Europe, Southeast Asia, India and islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. In December 2013, a cluster of chikungunya cases were reported for the first time in the Americas on islands in the Caribbean. Seven months after the mosquito-borne virus chikungunya was recognized in the Western Hemisphere, the first locally acquired case of the disease has surfaced in the continental United States.
The Southern Nevada Health District’s vector control program has updated its methods to include surveillance for the mosquito species that carries chikungunya virus. To date, the Aedes mosquito’s range has not extended beyond the Southeast US.
There is a risk that the virus will be imported to new areas by infected travelers. Currently, there is a risk the virus could be imported to new areas by infected travelers. At this time, the risk of acquiring chikungunya in Clark County is negligible as the mosquito that transmits the disease has not been identified in the area. The risk could increase if the mosquito species is found in Clark County, however, how much of a risk is still unknown.
There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat chikungunya virus infection. Travelers can protect themselves from Chikungunya and other mosquite-borne diseases by preventing mosquito bites. When traveling to countries with chikungunya virus or other mosquito-borne diseases, use insect repellent, wear long sleeves and pants, and stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens.
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Updated on: August 23, 2018