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Approach of mosquito-borne virus has Louisiana on high alert - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Approach of mosquito-borne virus has Louisiana on high alert

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LOUISIANA -

The approach of a mosquito borne virus has the United States, particularly Louisiana and Florida, on high alert. The virus, Chikungunya, more commonly known as ChikV, has been sweeping the Caribbean and could soon break out in the states. There is currently no vaccine or cure for ChikV and besides fever and joint aches, the virus also causes headaches, nausea and rashes.

Brian Glasscock, Caddo Parish's Mosquito Control Manager says that the mosquito that carries the virus is already in the state of Louisiana.

"Your virus carriers are the ones you usually see from May through October. West Nile mosquitoes come out at night but this mosquito comes out all day long. This mosquito is a domestic mosquito that prefers the bite in the day time" says Glasscock.

Glasscock says Louisiana residents can take preventative measures by keeping trash and standing water off their property. He also says that the parish will be conducting routine spraying against mosquitoes.

Dr. Ratard says that the United States has already some cases of this virus but those people weren't actually bitten while in the U.S. He says that the cases that have been seen here, are from people who were infected while visiting other countries and came to back to the states. Ratard says that the virus can only be transmitted from a mosquito; an infected person cannot pass the virus on to another person however, if a mosquito bites an infected person, the mosquito can then contract the virus and pass it on to the next person it bites.

On a positive note, Dr. Ratard says that people infected with ChikV are easier to contain than those with the West Nile Virus.

Dr. Ratard says that some simple steps can help prevent people from being bitten by infected mosquitos.

1. Keep your property free from trash and standing water

2. If you see a lot of mosquitoes during the day, wear insect repellent.

3. Wear long pants and long sleeves when in high mosquito areas

While some people have no symptoms at all, others experience flu like symptoms and painful joints. ChikV is considered a risky virus yet, Dr. Ratard says that between the West Nile Virus, which can be deadly, ChikV is the less severe virus but describes it as being more painful than that of the West Nile Virus. Unfortunately, since there is no cure of the virus, patients who contract the virus can only be treated for the pain and fever. Dr. Ratard says that the virus has to eventually pass out of your system and luckily, there are no major complications like we can see in the West Nile Virus.

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