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Warnings continue about mosquito-borne Chikungunya virus

June 25, 2014 -- 2:26 p.m.

By Tori Hughes

A new mosquito-borne disease has made its way to the United States, but the risk of contracting it is still relatively low.

Northwest Georgia Public Health spokesman Logan Boss explained that the new mosquito-borne disease Chikungunya, or ChikV, is transmitted from mosquito to human causing the person to fall ill.

“The key thing is it tends to give you a lot of joint pain. Most people would say this is much more uncomfortable, say, to catching the flu. But unlike the flu, ChikV won’t kill you.”

All confirmed cases of ChikV are travel related, in that those infected brought it back from outside of the U.S. It cannot be transmitted from one person to another. However, Boss said that we could see the same thing happen with ChikV that we have seen with West Nile Virus.

“Eventually, we’re going to have someone who has been infected with this disease, comes back to the U.S. and is bitten by a mosquito. The mosquito then gets that disease, and then starts spreading it to other folks here in the U.S.”

Boss said the best way to avoid contracting ChikV is to keep yourself from being bitten by mosquitoes, and this can be accomplished by remembering the “Five Ds of Prevention”:

Dawn, Day, Dusk: Formally known as “Dawn and Dusk”, public health officials added “Day” to when infectious mosquitoes are most active and likely to bite. Mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus bite most often at dawn and dusk, while mosquitoes carrying ChikV bite throughout the day.

Dress: Reduce the amount of skin exposed by dressing in light colored pants and long-sleeved shirts to minimize your risk of being bitten by mosquitoes.

DEET: Apply bug spray or other insect repellents containing DEET to any exposed skin.

Drain: Mosquitoes breed in standing pools of water and typically will not travel far from where they are bred. Any containers around your home or yard that may hold pools or small puddles of water should be emptied to eliminate the possibility of mosquito breeding.

Doors: Close any doors or windows leading into your home. Also, check to make sure screens for any doors or windows are secure and fit tightly to keep mosquitoes out.