Dallas Reports 2nd Imported Chikungunya Case

Chikungunya vaccine candidates are in clinical trials

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The Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) reported a 2nd case of Chikungunya virus in Irving, Texas, during 2018.

The 5-year-old person was infected during recent international travel to India, said DCHHS in a press release.

Chikungunya has been identified by the World Health Organization (WHO) in over 60 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas.

Chikungunya (CHIKV) is a viral infection caused by the CHIK virus belonging to the Togaviridae family.

This virus is transmitted through the bite of infected daytime biting female mosquitoes, primarily Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus.

Chikungunya is rarely fatal, says the WHO. Symptoms are generally self-limiting and last for 2–3 days. The virus remains in the human system for 5-7 days and mosquitoes feeding on an infected person during this period can also become infected.

Eva Harris, Ph.D., Division of Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology and Director, Center for Global Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, said in a press release "As there are currently no therapies or vaccines available for treatment or prevention of chikungunya, we are in desperate need of a medical and public health intervention." 

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But, there are several chikungunya vaccines in clinical trials.

A specialty vaccine company, PaxVax, recently announced that its vaccine candidate for the prevention of disease caused by the chikungunya virus has received Fast Track designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Chikungunya can be detected using serological tests. Recovery from an infection will confer lifelong immunity to the person, says the WHO.

The WHO advises persons with CHIKV to get plenty of rest, drink fluids to prevent dehydration and to take Tylenol to reduce fever and pain.

The best way to avoid exposure to CHIKV is to avoid mosquito bites.