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Mosquito-borne disease chikungunya fever brings dangers

Lana Bandoim's picture
Mosquito-borne disease chikungunya

A mosquito-borne disease has been found in several patients in Florida, and there is increasing concern among medical professionals about the spread of chikungunya fever. According to the World Health Organization, the fever is spread by mosquitoes and can be confused with dengue.

Chikungunya fever fears

Chikungunya fever has been found in three women who recently traveled to the Caribbean, and doctors believe they became infected during their trips by bites from mosquitoes. The disease does not have a simple treatment for the patients who end up with it.

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The symptoms of the mosquito-borne illness are fever, pain, headache and rash. However, one of the biggest complaints from patients is joint pain, and it may last for weeks without relief. Some patients report the start of symptoms several days after they are bitten by mosquitoes. Research on the long-term impact of chikungunya fever reveals that it may contribute to ongoing arthritis or joint problems in some people.

The spread of the mosquito-borne disease

The fever can be spread by mosquitoes biting an infected person and moving on to the next victim who will get the disease from the bite. Researchers have known about the disease since the 1950s but finding a cure has not been possible, so the usual treatment for the fever is simply focused on the symptoms. However, the disease is spreading quickly in the Caribbean and is now threatening the United States.

The Florida Department of Health has responded to the reports by warning residents about chikungunya fever and recommending that they avoid all mosquito bites. In addition, the department reminds people to make sure standing water is not on their properties because this will attract mosquitoes. Unfortunately, the lack of a vaccine or a real treatment for the fever leaves residents vulnerable.

Image: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade/Wikimedia Commons