Mosquitoes in Bexar Co. could carry Chikungunya virus

First domestic case confirmed in Florida

SAN ANTONIO - The first case of the chikungunya virus contracted by a person who had not traveled abroad has been confirmed in Florida.

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On Friday, Texas AgriLife Entomologist Molly Keck said it is possible that the mosquitoes in Bexar County could also be carriers of the virus.

"The species of mosquito are Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, and those are daytime fliers," said Keck. "They are not native to Texas, but we've had them here for sometime."

And because this particular species can be a carrier of the chikungunya virus, Keck said that means you don't have to leave the country to contract the disease.

"That's worrisome because if someone were to come from somewhere in the Caribbean, who had contracted the disease there and comes here and then a mosquito bites that human and bites somebody else, they can transmit the disease," said Keck. "And, it can become what's called endemic, where it's always found here."

However, for now, Dr. Anil Mangla with the San Antonio Metro Health Department said that hasn't happened.

In Bexar County, there has been one confirmed case of the chikunguyna virus, but it wasn't contracted locally.

"Our cases, we don't have any that are locally acquired, meaning individuals who have not traveled out of the county," said Mangla.

However, Mangla is advising that if you have traveled to the Caribbean recently and have a fever, excruciating joint pain or swelling, you should see a doctor right away because you could be a carrier.

If you're looking to be cautious at home, Keck said this type of mosquito breeds in standing water located in some sort of artificial container, like a dog dish or bird bath. So, frequently dumping water out of those containers reduces the risk of contracting the disease.

 


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