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For Immediate Release
July 11, 2014

DHEC confirms South Carolina's first case of chikungunya virus in 2014

COLUMBIA, S.C. - The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) has confirmed the first case of chikungunya virus this year in a South Carolina resident. The case occurred in an Upstate resident who recently returned from a trip to Haiti.

Chikungunya virus, a mosquito-borne illness traditionally found in Africa and Asia, was recently identified in the Caribbean.

The symptoms of chikungunya are headache, fever, rash, joint swelling or muscle pain. So far the virus has only been identified in the United States in individuals who recently traveled internationally.

"The chikungunya virus is spread from person to person by the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquito," said Dr. Linda Bell, state epidemiologist with DHEC. "People who are traveling to areas where mosquito-borne viruses have been identified should take extra precautions to prevent mosquito bites."

Bell added anyone who has recently been to the Caribbean and believes they have been infected should contact their health care provider and stay indoors for at least 7 days to avoid spreading the virus to South Carolina mosquitos.

DHEC suggests protecting yourself, family and animals from any mosquito-borne illness by taking these precautions:

  • Use a mosquito repellant containing DEET while outdoors
  • Remove all sources of standing water around your home to prevent breeding
  • Wear loose, light-colored, long clothing to cover arms and legs while outdoors
  • Avoid peak mosquito times such as dawn and dusk
  • Change animal watering bowls regularly

For more information about chikungunya virus, visit: http://www.cdc.gov/chikungunya/.

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For media inquiries:
Jim Beasley - (803) 898-7769
Email - beaslejc@dhec.sc.gov

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