Texas' Tarrant County reports first case of chikungunya

The first case of chikungunya virus has been reported in Texas' Tarrant County, according to the local health department.

County health officials said a resident of Mansfield contracted the virus during a visit to the Caribbean and was diagnosed by doctors after returning home to the U.S.

The case is the first imported case of chikungunya in the county and the 13th case in the state. Local spread of the virus has only been reported in Florida.

"Our best bet now is to continue with active human surveillance for the disease, so we are urging all healthcare providers to maintain a high index of suspicion for chikungunya virus disease, especially among patients who have traveled to places with the disease," Anita Kurian, the associate director at the Tarrant County Public Health Department, said.

Health officials urged residents to protect themselves against mosquito bites and encouraged doctors to consider chikungunya and dengue infection in patients who show symptoms, including acute fever and joint pain.

Chikungunya is transmitted by the Aedes mosquito, which is most active during the daytime. As of Aug. 19, more than 600 cases of the disease have been reported in the U.S. this year.