First Case of Chikungunya Confirmed in Dallas County

Dallas County Health and Human Services confirmed Tuesday the first case of imported chikungunya virus in the county.

The patient was infected during a recent trip to the Caribbean, DCHHS said, and was diagnosed after returning home to Dallas County.

For patient confidentiality reasons, no further information about the patient will be released.

"Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is transmitted to people by mosquitoes. The virus causes high fever and severe joint pain that start suddenly. It can also cause headache, muscle pain and rash. CHIKV does not often result in death, but the symptoms can be disabling, and some people may get severe complications. There is no specific medication available to treat CHIKV and there is not a vaccine. Avoiding mosquito bites is the key to avoid CHIKV," DCHHS said in a news release.

Earlier this month, the Texas Department of State Health Services confirmed the first human case of chikungunya in the state in Williamson County north of Austin.

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.
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