FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2016

Second travel-related case of chikungunya confirmed in Delaware

Health officials in Delaware recently confirmed the second case of chikungunya virus in the state related to travel to the Caribbean, according to the state health department.

The latest case was a 51-year-old woman from New Castle County. She was treated by doctors last month before being released.

As of Sept. 2, more than 750 cases of the virus were reported to health officials. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reported that while a majority of cases are from affected areas in the Caribbean, Pacific Islands, South America and Asia, Florida has reported seven locally transmitted cases.

Chikungunya is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. It is a potentially debilitating disease that can bring on symptoms like acute fever and joint pain. Other symptoms include headache, joint swelling or rash.

Certain groups, such as the elderly, infants and those with compromised immune systems and medical conditions like high blood press and heart disease, are more at risk severe disease.

"Given global travel habits, we considered the disease coming to Delaware almost inevitable," Karyl Rattay, the director of the Delaware Division of Public Health, said. "It is important to remember that mosquito season is not over and we are urging people to remember to protect themselves from bites both in Delaware and abroad."

Delaware officials urged residents to take extra precautions when mosquitoes are most active, especially at dusk and early morning hours, such as wearing long-sleeved clothing and using bug repellent containing DEET.