Kentucky confirms first case of Chik-V virus

meehan1@herald-leader.comJune 24, 2014 

University of Kentucky professor Stephen Dobson's research focuses on controlling the Asian tiger mosquito, which is in every Kentucky county.

MATT BARTON — UK College of Agriculture

The first case of the mosquito-borne virus called chikungunya, or Chik-V, has been confirmed in a Kentucky resident.

State health officials say that person apparently was infected while traveling to Haiti, so the overall risk to Kentuckians remains low for now.

The Kentucky Department for Public Health confirmed Tuesday the first case of chikungunya virus in an Anderson County resident who recently traveled to Haiti. The test results of nine others who traveled to the same region are pending but are expected to be positive, according to state officials.

Dr. Kraig Humbaugh, state epidemiologist and deputy commissioner of the Department of Public Health, said Kentuckians should be cautious despite the low risk.

"It's always good to remember to wear protection against mosquitoes, both here at home and when traveling abroad, to protect against all mosquito-borne illnesses," he said.

The Chik-V illness is routinely found in mosquitoes in the Caribbean, Africa and Asia, but is not yet carried by mosquitoes in Kentucky, according to state officials.

Chik-V is transmitted to humans only by the bite of infected mosquitoes; it doesn't spread from person to person. The period of time between when an infected mosquito bites a person and when the person develops symptoms of the illness is typically three to seven days.

The infected person develops high fever, chills and joint pain, followed in some people by a rash on the trunk, limbs and face lasting three to four days. Muscle and joint pain last about a week. Joint pain is often severe and in some people lasts longer, sometimes several months. Chik-V is usually not fatal. There is no vaccine available to prevent Chik-V infection.

Mary Meehan: (859) 231-3261. Twitter: @bgmoms. Blog: Bluegrassmoms.com.

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