Tenn. health officials investigate report of Chikungunya - WKRN News 2

Tenn. health officials investigate report of Chikungunya

Posted: Updated: Jun 12, 2014 11:05 PM

A new and dangerous mosquito-borne disease has made its way to Tennessee from the Caribbean.

It is called Chikungunya and experts say it is likely to become as common as the West Nile Virus.

Brandon Owen recently returned from the Caribbean from a missionary trip.

He said he heard about the virus, but that didn’t stop him from going.

“You investigate what it might be, you put it up against the other things you have heard about, and how it might compare to those. You evaluate the situation, but it does not change anything. If the doctors say we're good to go, than we are good to go,” said Owen.

The Tennessee Department of Health said it is investigating the first potential case of the virus in the Volunteer State.

Some Tennesseans who recently traveled to the Caribbean are showing symptoms of the disease.

Officials said it is spread by a type of mosquito that is very common in Tennessee.

Some of the symptoms of the virus include fever, headache, vomiting, rash and muscle pain.

Experts say Tennesseans can protect themselves by using bug repellant with DEET, wearing lose fitting clothes and removing containers with standing water.

Pastor Tom Crow said a significant number of members from his congregation travel abroad for missionary work.

He said it is important to keep things in perspective if you are protecting yourself.

“We can be as safe in Haiti tomorrow as we can in Nashville. Good and harm can fall to all of us, we should exercise caution and care,” said Pastor Crow.

There are currently no approved vaccines to treat Chikungunya. The disease is not usually fatal.

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