First Oklahoma Case Of Chikungunya Virus Confirmed

Thursday, June 19th 2014, 3:13 pm
By: News On 6

The Oklahoma Department of Health says a Tulsa County resident has tested positive for the chikungunya virus, the first confirmed case of the disease in the state.

Chikungunya is not indigenous to Oklahoma or the continental U.S.

The resident who tested positive for the virus recently traveled to Haiti on a mission trip. The disease is transmitted by mosquitoes.

6/16/2014 Related Story: Tulsa Health Officials Warn Of Mosquito-Borne Virus, 'Chik-V'

The state Department of Health urges those considering traveling to any Caribbean island, South America, Africa or southeast Asia take extra precautions against mosquito bites.

Chikungunya virus was found for the first time in the Americas last year on islands in the Caribbean. Since then, outbreaks have occurred in Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Cuba.

Symptoms include high fever and severe pain in multiple joints, headache, muscle pain, joint swelling and rash.

"Persons developing symptoms of chikungunya, such as high fever, joint pain, and body aches within seven days after returning from an area with chikungunya, should voluntarily isolate themselves indoors for seven days after symptoms begin to avoid contact with native mosquitoes. This action will reduce the risk of introducing the chikungunya virus into Oklahoma's native mosquito population, which will prevent locally-acquired disease," said Oklahoma State Epidemiologist Dr. Kristy Bradley.

Unlike West Nile virus infection, chikungunya can be transmitted from a sick person to a healthy person by the bite of an infected mosquito.

Infected persons are advised to avoid exposure to mosquitoes during the first week of illness. Chikungunya is not transmitted directly from one person to another through contact.

For more health and safety information, visit the OSDH web site.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.