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Rare mosquito-borne virus shows up in SC case

By Joey Holleman
The (Columbia) State

A case of chikungunya virus, a mosquito-borne illness rarely found in the U.S., has been identified in Upstate South Carolina.

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control confirmed the case Friday. It is the first chikungunya case identified in the state this year.

Cases previously have been identified in the state in 2013 and 2010.

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

In this case, an Upstate resident recently had returned from a trip to Haiti.

The Centers for Disease Control reported an average of 28 chikungunya cases in the U.S. per year from 2006-13, but the number has ballooned to 153 this year. Most of the pre-2013 cases were in people who had visited Asia, but most of the cases this year are coming from the Caribbean.

There has been no known local transmission in the U.S. from infected person to mosquito – which then can lead to spread to other people.

Health officials encourage infected individuals to stay inside and avoid mosquitoes to prevent the spread of the virus.

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