Massachusetts public health officials are keeping an eye out for a mosquito-borne illness that could be headed this way.
The once-tropical chikungunya (pronounced chick-uhn-GUHN-yuh) virus has now spread to mosquitos in Florida. The virus has not yet been transmitted by mosquitos in Massachusetts. Still, state public health veterinarian Catherine Brown cautions that residents are not out of danger.
“Quite a number of travelers from Massachusetts who…were vacationing in the Caribbean came back and ended up with chikungunya, so it’s already impacting the residents of Massachusetts,” Brown says.
The virus is rarely lethal. But, according to the Centers for Disease Control, the symptoms are unpleasant — initially flu-like, with joint pain that can reoccur for months.
Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that the virus is not lethal. It should have said the virus is rarely lethal.