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Health Officials Warning Americans of Mosquito-Borne Illness

Updated: Tuesday, June 17 2014, 05:22 PM EDT

Public health authorities are warning Americans to be aware of a dangerous mosquito borne illness that is hitting the Caribbean Islands and other locations overseas.

The illness is called Chikungunya (chick-un-gun-jah), a debilitating, mosquito borne virus that can be transferred from mosquitos to humans back to mosquitos. Although the illness is primarily found in Africa, East Asia and the Caribbean Islands, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has been monitoring the virus for some time.

After a major outbreak in the Caribbean this year, many health officials are even more concerned American tourists could bring it back to the US. Even though there have been recent reports of the illness in states such as Tennessee and North Carolina, all of the infected patients were visiting overseas when they contracted the virus, officials report.

The Chikungunya, which can cause severe joint pain and arthritis-like symptoms, has no cure, and no treatment. So the most effective protection is prevention.

The best way to avoid any mosquito bite is to do the following:

-Use bug spray when you go outdoors, especially if you are in a wet or wooded area.
-Wear long clothing if you will be outdoors for a long time
-If you are going overseas, especially in tropical areas, pack protection against mosquitos.
-Get rid of any standing water you may have around your home. Mosquitos breed in still waters.

Health Officials Warning Americans of Mosquito-Borne Illness

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