A third case of a mosquito-borne virus that can sicken its victims for weeks has been reported in North Carolina.
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported Monday that a resident of Buncombe County has contracted chikungunya. That victim is thought to have been bitten by an infected mosquito while traveling with a group of Haiti.
In recent weeks, cases also were reported among residents of Alamance and Forsyth counties. Both of those victims also were thought to have contracted the virus while overseas.
In fact, North Carolina health officials said all current cases in the United States have been linked to returning travelers.
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State health officials said chikungunya, which cannot be spread from person to person, can be especially severe among newborns exposed during delivery, among adults 65 and older, and for those with chronic medical conditions.
Chikungunya symptoms include fever, joint pain and swelling, headache, muscle pain and rash. Most people recover within a week, but health officials said some victims suffer joint pain for months. Symptoms usually appear three to seven days after a person is bitten by an infected mosquito.
The disease is not fatal, but there is no vaccine for treating it. Victims are instructed to treat the symptoms.
North Carolina health officials said people traveling to the Caribbean, East Africa and the Western Pacific should be aware of the illness and try to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes.