TIME Infectious Disease

CDC Reports More Cases of Mosquito-Borne Chikungunya Virus

EL SALVADOR-HEALTH-CHIKUNGUNYA
A doctor examines a patient during a medical brigade to detect suspicious cases of Chikungunya fever in a school of the town of Ayutuxtepeque, 4 km north of San Salvador, El Salvador on June 18, 2014. Jose Cabezas—AFP/Getty Images

Nearly all American cases were contracted while traveling

More than 600 Americans have been infected with the mosquito-borne chikungunya virus so far this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday. The vast majority of cases, the CDC says, were not contracted locally.

The disease (pronounced: chik-en-gun-ye), which causes fever, joint pain, headaches, swelling and rashes is not fatal, but it can be very painful. Earlier this month, the first locally-transmitted case was reported in Florida. There is no vaccine for chikungunya, but it is not contagious. The best way to avoid the disease is to stay protected from mosquitos by wearing adequate clothing and by getting rid of standing water.

The CDC says it expects more cases of the virus to pop up among travelers, given recent outbreaks in regions like the Caribbean and the Pacific. Imported cases of the virus could mean the disease will spread locally, the CDC said.

You can read more about chikungunya in the U.S. here.

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