Mississippi reports first chikungunya case for 2015

The Mississippi State Department of Health said Monday it confirmed the state's first case of chikungunya virus this year.

The state's first case this year involves a Mississippi resident who recently returned from Honduras.

Last year, there were eight cases of chikungunya reported in Mississippi. All of those cases involved travelers returning from the Dominican Republic, Haiti or Puerto Rico.

The symptoms of chikungunya include fever, muscle and joint pain and swelling of the joints. Deaths from the chikungunya virus are rare, however, individuals with a compromised immune system are at higher risks of complications.

MSDH State Epidemiologist Thomas Dobbs said that the greater threat for Mississippians is West Nile virus. In 2014, there were 43 cases of West Nile virus in Mississippi.

“West Nile virus is prevalent in Mississippi, and it’s very important that you protect yourself from mosquitoes as we approach peak season beginning in July,” Dobbs said.

The MSDH suggests the following precautions to protect against chikungunya and other mosquito-borne illnesses:
- Use a recommended mosquito repellent that contains DEET while you are outdoors.
- Remove all sources of standing water around your home and yard to prevent mosquito breeding.

- Wear loose, light-colored clothing to cover the arms and legs when outdoors.
- Avoid areas where mosquitoes are prevalent. Mosquitoes that carry chikungunya virus are especially active during the day. Travelers to the Caribbean and Central and South America where local transmission has occurred should prevent mosquito exposure. 

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Mississippi State Department of Health

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