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Dr. Besser Talks With Dave About Chikungunya

Mosquito SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — If Eastern Equine Encephalitis and West Nile aren’t enough, there’s yet another mosquito transmitted virus with which we may have to deal. Four  people in the Boston area have been diagnosed with Chikungunya. A majority of the cases have been detected in Florida by travelers returning from the Caribbean.

Monday, ABC40’s Dave Madsen spoke with ABC News Chief Health and Medical Editor Richard Besser. He told him that so far, Chikungunya has been seen in 27 states.

RB: “The good news is no one has acquired in infection in the United States. Everyone who has gotten it, these cases are all linked to travel to the Caribbean. “

DM: “What are the symptoms associated with Chikungunya?” RB: “Early on it’s going to be hard to tell from any kind of flu. You’re going to have fever, muscle aches, headaches. You may get a rash, there’s all different kinds of rashes have been seen with this. But the tell-tale sign of Chikungunya is joint pain. About half the people who get infected with this are going to have joint pain. And the word Chikungunya means walking bent over and it comes from Tanzania where they recognized that people with severe Chikungunya infections couldn’t stand up straight because of that joint pain.”

DM: “When we protect ourselves against mosquito bites, where it’s Triple E, West Nile or Chikungunya is there any one particular repellant that’s better than another?” RB: “I’m a fan of the Deet repellants, unless you’re looking for a very young child where you have to be careful with the concentration, Deet is very effective as a mosquito repellant. But you have to remember, just like sunscreen that you have to reapply, to have to reapply your mosquito repellant as well. And the mosquitos that give you Chikungunya bite during the day.”

Dr. Besser also said that so far in the Caribbean, the Chikungunya virus has been found in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.


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