Mosquito-borne virus sickens 20 in NJ

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Posted: Jul 29, 2014 12:46 PM EDT
Updated: Aug 05, 2014 12:49 PM EDT
By KATHY CARVAJAL, Web Producer – Click Here to View Article and Video

MYFOXNY.COM/AP – Twenty New Jersey residents have tested positive for a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean.

The state Health Department says the residents who came down with chikungunya had returned to New Jersey from the Caribbean. Chikungunya causes a high fever and severe pain in the joints. It is rarely fatal. There is no vaccine, and it mainly is treated with pain medication.

“The arrival of chikungunya virus, first in the tropical Americas and now in the United States, underscores the risks posed by this and other exotic pathogens,” said Roger Nasci of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in a prepared statement.

Health officials urged residents to prevent mosquito bites but said there was no cause for alarm.

“There is no broad risk to the health of the general public,” said Dr. Celeste Philip, a public health official with the Florida Department of Health.

Now that chikungunya is in the United States, CDC officials think it will behave like dengue virus, with imported cases causing occasional local transmissions but not widespread outbreaks.

“Treatments are hydration, keeping the fever down, treating vomiting that occurs, treating the headache and supporting the patient until the patient recovers,” said Dr. Len Horovitz, pulmonary specialist, Lenox Hill Hospital, NYC.

Meanwhile, the health department has found West Nile virus in mosquito pools in Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Passaic and Union counties.

West Nile symptoms include fever, muscle weakness, vomiting and dizziness.

So far, no one has tested positive. Two of 12 residents who tested positive for West Nile last summer died.

MYFOXNY/Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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