TYLER (KYTX) - A mosquito borne illness making its way through the Caribbean, has landed in Texas. Monday, the Texas State Department of Health services confirmed one case of -- Chikungunya-- just outside of Austin.
CBS 19's Katiera Winfrey explains the impact of the virus and how widespread the illness could potentially get.
The first cases of Chikungunya showed up in Caribbean in 2013. Earlier this year, three cases were found in North Carolina, and now there's one is Texas. In the confirmed Texas case, that person had recently traveled to the Caribbean, where they were likely infected. Symptoms of the virus include fever, headaches, rashes and severe joint pain.
The biggest threat mosquitoes can carry lies within their bite, but most of the time the bites burn or itch.
"Texas is really bad, especially in the summer, and right now I think ones got me," said jogger David Hernandez as he reached to swipe away a mosquito.
But when the bite is followed by infection, the situation get more serious. And most recently for at least one person in Texas, the infection is coming from a threat that's new to the US -- Chikungunya.
"I think the concern is more minor an time will only tell how significant the transmission will be and how many more cases they'll be here in the United States," said infectious disease physician at UT Health Northeast Jeana Benwill.
"Since we're traveling more these days and going to different countries and disease in other countries we're bringing them to the United States," she said.
Now that Chikungunya is on the list of mosquito borne illnesses, wearing mosquito repellent, wearing long sleeves and staying indoors at dusk and dawn...is the best prevention.
"You can have the virus in your blood, but you're not going to cause another person to catch Chikungunya."
The virus isn't spread from person to person, it's spread through mosquito bites. If an infected person is bitten again, the new mosquito becomes infected, giving it the ability to infect someone new.
Hernandez says, he's not extremely threatened by the new virus, but he's going to continue to practice caution.
Specialist say in extreme case, the symptoms have been known to linger for months or even years. bBbutypically, the symptoms will eventually fade.
WILLIAMSON COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) – The Texas Department of State Health Services has confirmed the first human case of chikungunya, a viral disease that can cause severe joint pain and is spread by mosquitoes.
The case was discovered in a Williamson County (north of Austin) resident, who had recently returned from a trip to the Caribbean. The disease has been present in that region since late 2013.
The health department says the infections are rarely fatal, but can cause "severe joint pain, high fever, head and muscle aches, joint swelling and rash."
Symptoms usually begin within three to seven days after being bitten by the mosquito. Though there is no vaccine or treatment for the virus, most people feel better within a week, though some patients develop long-term joint pain.
To date, there are no reports that the disease has been spread locally within the United States, though it is certainly possible within Texas due to the the presence of mosquitoes.
The DSHS encourages citizens to protect themselves by taking the following steps:
Use an approved insect repellent every time you go outside, and follow label instructions.Drain standing water where mosquitoes can breed.Wear long sleeves and pants when outside.Use air conditioning or make sure doors and windows are screened to keep mosquitoes outside. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of travelers visiting or returning to the U.S. from affected areas will likely increase.
The DSHS is encouraging health care professionals to consider both chikungunya and dengue infection in patients with acute onset of fever and joint pain.