Mosquito-Borne Chikungunya Virus Invades America | Feature | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida

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Mosquito-Borne Chikungunya Virus Invades America

Residents in the Caribbean came down with fevers as high as 104, migraine-like headaches, and sometimes bright-red rashes covering their limbs. But worst was the joint pain — typically so severe it made ordinary tasks like twisting doorknobs and tying shoelaces unbearable and forced even healthy young men to walk as if they had aged 50 years overnight. The cause was a mosquito-borne virus that, just months earlier, almost no one in the town knew: chikungunya. There is no cure or antidote, and while typically not fatal, the disease can leave victims in agonizing pain for months or years. This past July 17, public health officials announced that two Florida residents had been infected by local mosquitoes — marking the first time chikungunya had been acquired in the United States. The door was open to thousands of new American cases.

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Trevor Bach and Dianna Wray

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