Posted on July 29, 2014 at 2:57 PM
Tuesday, Jul 29 at 5:20 PM
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) -- The Saint Louis County Department of Health reported its first case of Chikungunya Tuesday, a virus that is spread by mosquitoes.
In a news release Tuesday, officials said the patient did not contract the disease locally, but did while traveling in the Caribbean.
This is the first case reported in St. Louis County. There have been approximately 300 travel-related cases reported throughout the United States. Only two cases in the contiguous U.S. have been locally-transmitted; both of them in Florida.
The Health Department says most people infected with Chikungunya will develop symptoms within 3 to 7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. The most common symptoms are fever and joint pain, but patients can also experience headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, and a rash. Although the symptoms can be severe, Chikungunya is not often fatal.
Chikungunya can only be transmitted by a mosquito bite. It cannot be transmitted by person-to-person contact. Currently, the mosquitoes in the St. Louis region do not carry Chikungunya.
Residents can also help reduce opportunities for mosquitoes to flourish as well as reduce their chances of being bitten by doing the following:
- Remove all standing water: At least once a week, drain water from garbage cans, buckets, toys, flowerpots, wading pools, pet dishes, and other objects that can collect water. Change water in birdbaths at least once a week.
- Keep gutters clean and repair any tears in door and window screens.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and light colors when outdoors.
- Spray clothing with repellents containing DEET.
- Look for products containing the active ingredient methoprene or Bti (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis) to place in birdbaths or ponds, to prevent mosquitoes from developing.
- Eliminate unkempt vegetation to eliminate breeding and resting areas for mosquitoes.