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West Virginia health officials said Thursday that the state is investigating its first suspected case of a flu-like virus transmitted by mosquitoes.
The Department of Health and Human Resources Bureau is waiting for confirmatory testing from the Centers for Disease Control for chikungunya, an illness that has made it way to the United States from the Caribbean and Asia.
“Travelers to these countries have carried the chikungunya virus back to the United States,” Dr. Letitia Tierney, state health officer and commissioner for the bureau for public health said in a statement. “It is possible that local mosquito populations could be infected. Currently, we have one suspected case in West Virginia from a traveler to an endemic country.”
Tierney said a case has been confirmed in Kentucky.
Symptoms of the virus typically begin three to seven days after a bite from an infected mosquito, and can include fever, severe joint pains, headache, muscle pain, joint swelling or a rash. Infected individuals will experience flu-like symptoms at the beginning of the illness. The virus does not often result in death, officials said.
People are being encouraged to drain items in yards that can retain water and allow mosquitoes to breed. Wearing shoes, socks, pants, long-sleeves and mosquito repellant is also suggested to prevent the likelihood of being bitten.
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