Mississippi confirms first case of chikungunya virus

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JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi health officials confirmed the state’s first case of chikungunya virus.

The patient recently returned from Haiti, where doctors believe he or she was infected.

Several other potential cases are still under investigation.

Mosquitoes carry the virus and infect humans when they bite. Symptoms include painful, swollen joints and fever. There isn’t an effective treatment or cure, although deaths from the virus are rare.

“It’s very important for travelers to the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and other Caribbean nations to be especially careful and take proper precautions to protect themselves,” MSDH state epidemiologist Dr. Thomas Dobbs said.

To protect yourself from mosquito-borne illnesses, use a repellant containing DEET while outside and wear loose, light-colored clothing that covers your arms and legs. Get rid of standing water to stop mosquitoes from breeding.

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