France hit with second chikungunya virus case

A second case of the mosquito-borne chikungunya virus was confirmed in the French Riviera this weekend, and French health officials are warning doctors to be on alert for new cases.

In the town of Frejus, two girls, both aged 12, caught the debilitating virus. Along with headaches and fever, the virus causes arthritic-like pain throughout the body that can leave victims hunched or stooped, French officials told AFP.

In both of the French cases, the girls had not traveled to areas in eastern Africa, Southeast Asia or the Indian subcontinent, where the infection is endemic.

There is no known cure or treatment for chikungunya, which can cause debilitating pain, incapacitation and even death.

Chikungunya travels quickly through populations. An outbreak in a region in Italy infected 240 people in a two month period. On the French Indian Ocean island of Reunion, a quarter of the population became infected in less than two years, resulting in 250 deaths.

September of this year also saw the first native infections of dengue fever in France. Early in September, two people were infected with the virus that normally causes flu-like symptoms but can also be deadly in some forms.

Like dengue, chikungunya is carried by the tiger mosquito, whose range has moved northward in the last few years.