First Chikungunya case acquired in the United States reported in Florida

Published: Jul. 17, 2014 at 9:10 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 22, 2014 at 9:11 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, GA (WALB) - The first locally-acquired case of Chikungunya has surfaced in the continental United States.

The case was reported Thursday in Florida in a man who had not recently traveled outside the United States.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working closely with the Florida Department of Health to investigate how the patient contracted the virus; the CDC said they will also monitor for additional locally acquired U.S. cases in the coming weeks and months.

According to a release, the CDC said since 2006, the United States has averaged 28 imported cases of chikungunya per year in travelers returning from countries where the virus is common.

To date for 2014, 243 travel-associated cases have been reported in 31 states and two territories. However, the newly reported case represents the first time that mosquitoes in the continental United States are thought to have spread the virus to a non-traveler.

This year, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands reported 121 and two cases of locally acquired chikungunya respectively.

“The arrival of chikungunya virus, first in the tropical Americas and now in the United States, underscores the risks posed by this and other exotic pathogens,” said Roger Nasci, Ph.D., chief of CDC’s Arboviral Diseases Branch.

Chikungunya virus is transmitted to people by two species of mosquitoes, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. Both species are found in the southeastern United States and limited parts of the southwest; Aedes albopictus is also found further north up the East Coast, through the Mid-Atlantic States and is also found in the lower Midwest.

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