Chikungunya Virus Continues Spreading Across Country - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Chikungunya Virus Continues Spreading Across Country

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MILTON, Del. - A new mosquito-borne illness called Chikungunya is spreading across the nation, and is even popping up in the region, creating some concern from state agencies. 

As of Tuesday, the Center for Disease Control reported there were 497 cases nationwide of the Chikungunya Virus, spanning across 35 states. John Ghabra the owner of Mosquito Authority, a company that exterminates these mosquitoes told WBOC that the virus is spreading. 

"This virus came in from Africa," he said. "It hit the Caribbean. Now recently we've seen the cases in Florida develop. So it is spreading through the states and that's obviously a problem."

Ghabra said the virus causes excruciating pain, fever, joint discomfort, and rashes that could last months. 

"It won't kill you," he said. "But you are going to wish you were dead."

Of the 35 states impacted, those include Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Due to the close proximity, The Delaware Division of Public Health has also issued a warning about the virus. 

The great majority of the infections were what scientists call "import" cases, because the people were infected overseas in places like the Caribbean. However, last Thursday two Florida residents were infected, something that has created the most concern for Ghabra.

"Now it's here," he said. "And once it's here, that's when it becomes a problem. And it starts to spread."

WBOC met up with Jamie Joachimowski from the Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife to speak about the problem. He explained that there are many easy ways to avoid the spreading of this virus. 

"To reduce your chances of exposure to mosquitos and mosquito-borne diseases, eliminate any sources of water in your yard," he said. "So dump out those buckets in the yard, clean out your rain gutters. Any sources of water that could be standing for more than seven days can produce mosquitos."

Joachimowski said that a big reason for concern is the Asian Tiger Mosquito. He said this type of mosquito is very populated in Delaware, and that it is capable of carrying this virus.

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