By Jennifer Read
A few days ago DHEC Public Health confirmed the first case of chikungunya virus this year in a South Carolina resident. The case occurred in an Upstate resident who recently returned from a trip to Haiti.
Chikungunya virus, a mosquito-borne illness traditionally found in Africa and Asia, was recently identified in the Caribbean. The symptoms of chikungunya are headache, fever, rash, joint swelling or muscle pain.
So far, the virus has only been identified in the United States in individuals who recently traveled internationally. If you recently traveled to the Caribbean and believe you have been infected by a mosquito-borne illness, you should contact your health care provider.
Prevent the Bite
To protect yourself and your family from any mosquito-borne illnesses, DHEC Public Health recommends following “the four Ds” to prevent bites:
- DEET – Apply insect repellent on exposed skin and clothing when you go outdoors. Use an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellent. Permethrin sprayed on clothing provides protection through several washes. Don’t spray repellent on skin under clothing and don’t use permethrin on skin.
- Dress – Cover up. Wear long sleeve shirts and long pants and socks while outdoors to prevent mosquito bites.
- Dawn and dusk – Reduce exposure to mosquitoes during the early morning and evening hours when they are most active. It is important to wear repellent at that time.
- Drain – Eliminate all sources of standing water on your property where mosquitoes can lay their eggs, including flowerpots, old car tires and pet bowls.
For more information on how to prevent mosquito bites this summer, check out our website.