Chikungunya virus is transmitted to people by mosquitoes. (Source: MGN Online)
COLBERT COUNTY, AL (WAFF) -
According to preliminary test results, health officials in Alabama have confirmed five new cases of the mosquito-borne virus called Chikungunya. So far there have been two cases reported in Colbert County, one in Tuscaloosa, and another in Jefferson County. Tuesday afternoon, a Birmingham resident was confirmed as the fifth reported case.
In June, a Huntsville-area woman contracted the virus while in Haiti for a work-related trip. According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, the woman went to a doctor in Mississippi before returning to Alabama. Health officials said she did not returned to the state until the virus was out of her system.
Several people in Colbert County have been tested for the virus after returning from a mission trip to Haiti.
Chikungunya is transmitted by daytime biting mosquitoes. Some of the symptoms of the illness include fever, joint and muscle pain, fatigue, rash and joint swelling.
Health officials said the risk is greater for the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems or those who have high blood pressure, diabetes or heart disease. According to officials, the disease is not usually fatal.
Health officials urge people to use these tips to prevent mosquito bites:
Use insect repellant.
Do not use perfume, colognes or scented deodorants or soap if you're going outside as the fragrances may attract insects
Eliminate standing water near your home. Standing water can serve as a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
Keep wading pools empty when not in use.
Replace water in bird baths weekly.
Keep windows and doors closed or covered with screens to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home.
Remember to wear loose-fitting clothes to prevent bites through fabric. Light-colored clothing is also less attractive to many insects and can make it easier to spot mosquitoes.