As of late, West Nile Virus was the only virus we worried about here in the States that could be contracted by mosquito bites, but it looks like there's a new virus that could be flying our way — Chikungunya. The mouthful of a virus has spread across Africa, India, the French Island of Reunion, and there have also been cases found in Italy and France since 2005. Health officials are worried that this virus will soon infect those living in Europe and the US.
Chikungunya, which name means "that which bends up," was first discovered in Tanzania in 1952. The virus is spread by infected Asian tiger mosquito, a species that can be found in Asia, Africa, Europe, the Americas, Australia, and New Zealand. Unlike the West Nile Virus where nine out of 10 people infected show no symptoms, those who contract the Chikungunya virus experience a fever, headache, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and muscle and joint pain. Symptoms can last a few weeks, and some have reported pain lasting for months. There is no cure for the virus yet.
Health officials are worried that since this little bugger can be transported through air travel, it could eventually affect every country in the world. Great. One more thing to worry about. The best thing you can do to protect yourself is to steer clear of damp areas where mosquitoes thrive, wear long sleeves and pants when outside, and don't forget the bug spray.