Tulsa Health Department Investigating, Monitoring Those With Chik-V
TULSA, Oklahoma - A virus spread by mosquitoes has Oklahomans on alert. It's arrived from overseas, and doctors said it's so new, they can't be sure it's not spread from person to person.
The Tulsa Health Department said you should take measures to prevent Chikungunya, or Chik-V, from spreading if you think you have the virus. Stay inside so you don't risk exposing anyone else.
They are still investigating and monitoring missionaries who were on the same trip with someone who recently contracted the virus in Haiti.
The Centers for Disease Control said the virus, which is carried by mosquitoes, originated in Africa and spread to the Caribbean.
"We haven't had any kind of person-to-person transmission at this point from any other cases and we haven't had a locally acquired case," said Nicole Schlaefli with the Tulsa Health Department.
Epidemiologists said symptoms of Chik-V include high fever, joint pain and body aches. The Health Department said if you start to feel the symptoms to see a doctor immediately and stay inside.
"We don't want a mosquito to bite you, and then become infected with your blood and then bite another healthy person in which, that healthy person could develop symptoms," Schlaefli said.
Jaclyn Metcalf has been on more than a dozen mission trips, including to the Dominican Republic, which is now on the Chik-V watch list.
"You do everything you can to prevent it," she said.
Metcalf just returned from Belize with a youth group and learned about the spread of the virus to Oklahoma.
The Health Department isn't discouraging any travel to countries affected by the virus, it just wants you to be prepared and aware mosquitoes could be carrying the virus.
Metcalf said she was rarely bitten because she took simple steps when she traveled abroad.
"I would say take bug spray. I would say take a mosquito net. You can buy spray you spray on your clothes that's not meant for your skin and you spray it on your clothes before you leave," she said.
The Health Department doesn't believe there is any person to person transmission of the virus at this point. Doctors just don't want people who have the symptoms of the virus to be, possibly, exposing other people through mosquitoes.