VIDEOS: Illness, new to U.S., transmitted by mosquitos only

Published on Tuesday, 8 July 2014 09:26 - Written by

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(KYTX) - A mosquito borne illness making its way through the Caribbean, has landed in Texas. Monday, the Texas State Department of Health services confirmed one case of -- Chikungunya-- just outside of Austin.

CBS 19's Katiera Winfrey explains the impact of the virus and how widespread the illness could potentially get.

The first cases of Chikungunya showed up in Caribbean in 2013. Earlier this year, three cases were found in North Carolina, and now there's one is Texas. In the confirmed Texas case, that person had recently traveled to the Caribbean, where they were likely infected. Symptoms of the virus include fever, headaches, rashes and severe joint pain.

The biggest threat mosquitoes can carry lies within their bite, but most of the time the bites burn or itch.

"Texas is really bad, especially in the summer, and right now I think ones got me," said jogger David Hernandez as he reached to swipe away a mosquito.

But when the bite is followed by infection, the situation get more serious. And most recently for at least one person in Texas, the infection is coming from a threat that's new to the US -- Chikungunya.

"I think the concern is more minor an time will only tell how significant the transmission will be and how many more cases they'll be here in the United States," said infectious disease physician at UT Health Northeast Jeana Benwill.

"Since we're traveling more these days and going to different countries and disease in other countries we're bringing them to the United States," she said.

Now that Chikungunya is on the list of mosquito borne illnesses, wearing mosquito repellent, wearing long sleeves and staying indoors at dusk and dawn...is the best prevention.

"You can have the virus in your blood, but you're not going to cause another person to catch Chikungunya."

The virus isn't spread from person to person, it's spread through mosquito bites. If an infected person is bitten again, the new mosquito becomes infected, giving it the ability to infect someone new.

Hernandez says, he's not extremely threatened by the new virus, but he's going to continue to practice caution.

Specialist say in extreme case, the symptoms have been known to linger for months or even years. bBbutypically, the symptoms will eventually fade.