First Case of Chikungunya Virus Found in Oklahoma

A Tulsa County resident who recently traveled to Haiti has become the first in the state to test positive for the chikungunya virus, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

The disease is transmitted by mosquitoes and cannot be spread through human contact. Chikungunya is not indigenous to Oklahoma.

The OSDH has reported 57 total cases in the United States so far, with the illness originating from 22 Caribbean and two South American countries.

Death does not normally result from contracting the virus, but high fever, severe pain in joints, headache, muscle pain and rashes are all symptoms. Those at greatest risk for a more severe reaction to the disease are newborn infants, those 65 or older and those with other medical conditions.

Chikungunya can be transmitted from a sick person to a healthy person by the bite of an infected mosquito, the OSDH reports. Infected people are advised to avoid mosquitoes for a week after contracting the virus, along with avoiding the outdoors in general, to avoid contact with native mosquitoes.

The OSDH and Tulsa Health Department are working to ensure there are no other individuals infected with the virus.