The first Nebraska case of a mosquito-borne virus called chikungunya was recently reported to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.
A woman under 25 years old from eastern Nebraska recently traveled to Haiti and public health officials believe she got the virus there. She was hospitalized and later released.
"Travel-associated cases of chikungunya are still fairly uncommon in the U.S. However, we expect to see more in the coming years," said Dr. Joseph Acierno, Chief Medical Officer and Director of Public Health for DHHS. "Thankfully, deaths from the disease are rare but the pain can be severe and debilitating."
The most common symptoms of chikunguyna are fever and severe joint pain, often in hands and feet. Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain or rash. Symptoms usually start 3-7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.
Health officials stress the virus is spread through mosquito bites and not spread person to person. There is no medication or treatment for chikungunya or vaccine to prevent it. However, there are medicines that help reduce fever and pain. Although patients recover in about a week, some suffer from long-term joint pain.
Outbreaks have occurred in Africa, Europe, Asia, and islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It was found in the Caribbean for the first time last year. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says chikungunya is not currently found in mosquitoes in the United States.