NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/WMOT) — Health officials confirm that a new mosquito-borne virus has made its way to Tennessee.
The State Department of Health says a West Tennessee resident has tested positive for the chikungunya (chik-un-GUHN-ya) virus. State epidemiologist Abelardo Moncayo says Tennesseans traveling to the Caribbean are bringing the virus home with them.
Moncayo says the virus is rarely fatal but symptoms can include a high fever and severe joint pain.
“Typically this goes away within a week, but the joint pain can last sometimes months to maybe a year or more.”
To date, there have been no reports of secondary transmission and Dr. Moncayo says state health officials want to keep it that way. He notes that Tennessee is home to a mosquito capable of transmitting the virus.
“It’s a daytime biting mosquito. People usually think of mosquitos biting at dusk and dawn, but this one feeds rather aggressively during the daytime.”
In addition to a high fever and joint pain, other symptoms of the virus include chills, headache, nausea, sensitivity to light, vomiting, and rash.