Texas Department of State Health Services reports 11 cases of chikungunya virus in Texas, with two cases in North Texas.
Cases have been confirmed in Bexar, Collin, Dallas, Gonzales, Montgomery, and Williamson counties. Harris reports three cases and two in Travis County, according to the Texas DSHS.
In all of the cases travelers have acquired the illness, which is transmitted to people by mosquitoes, while visiting areas where the virus is more common.
According to the DSHS, the concern is that chikungunya could spread in Texas because the Aedes mosquitoes that transmit it are present in the state.
The virus causes high fever and severe joint pain that start suddenly. Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) does not often result in death but there is no specific medication available to treat CHIKV and there is not a vaccine.
Tips to avoid contracting chikungunya are similar to those used to avoid West Nile virus. Experts advise people take steps to reduce the chance of being bitten by mosquitoes by observing the 4 Ds.
- Drain standing water around their homes to reduce mosquito breeding grounds.
- Dress in pants and long sleeves when outside, but avoid becoming too hot.
- Apply an insect repellent that contains DEET to exposed skin and to clothing when outdoors.
- Stay indoors at dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.