The Tennessee Department of Health confirmed the first case of a new mosquito-borne illness in the state.
According to laboratory results from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one person in Madison County tested positive for chikungunya.
The virus is widespread in the Caribbean, with more than 100,000 suspected cases reported.
Several people from Tennessee and other states who traveled to the Caribbean now show symptoms of chikungunya.
The illness causes a sudden onset of fever, chills, headache, nausea, sensitivity to light, vomiting, rash and severe joint pain.
Fever and joint pain are the most common symptoms. The symptoms usually fade in a week.
“At this time there is no vaccine against chikungunya, so the only way to contain its spread is to prevent mosquito bites,” said State Epidemiologist Tim Jones, MD. “Chikungunya is spread by mosquitoes that feed during the day and are found in abundance in Tennessee.”
Those who are most at risk of more serious effects from chikungunya include newborns, people over the age of 65 and those with health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes or high blood pressure.
- June 11, 2014: Tenn. health officials investigate report of Chikungunya