On Wednesday, Leon County officials said that there are two cases of chikungunya virus that were found in the county. However, they said that the presence of the virus should cause no alarm, as it is not a threat to the public.
The two Leon County residents infected with the virus contracted the illness on their trip to Haiti. In a statement, Leon County Health Officer Claudia Blackburn said, “Both of those cases were imported. We haven’t had it spread locally, but people don’t need to worry about getting this disease here in Leon County.”
Chikungunya is a mosquito-borne virus that has no cure. Doctors can only remedy the symptoms. The illness spreads when a mosquito feeds on a person infected with the virus and bites someone else. Health officials in Leon County said that the transmission period of two weeks has passed.
Even if there is no threat, officials are urging Leon County residents to take precautions to avoid contracting the illness, since it is mosquito season.
Ashley Manning, a Georgia woman who contracted the illness shared her experience. Manning got the virus from her trip to the Caribbean. She said that she took precaution and used DEET mosquito-repellant, but she was infected anyway.
Manning suffered from excruciating pain and had to use crutches for a week. “I just thought I wasn’t going to be able to walk, like I was going to constantly have these pains. My joints were hurting really bad and I was like getting really out of breath and like having a fever,” she said.
Infectious disease specialist Dr. William Schaffner said that chikungunya in African means “bent over in pain.” He said that the illness is unpleasant, but it is not fatal.
The virus is mainly found in Southeast Asia and Africa. Last year, the virus was reported for the first time in the Caribbean.
Image via Wikimedia Commons