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June 2012
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Missouri reports mosquito-borne virus case

ST. LOUIS - Missouri health officials have reported the state's first case of a mosquito-borne virus that has been spreading to the U.S. from the Caribbean.

The St. Louis County Health Department announced Tuesday that a 38-year-old resident was infected with chikungunya while traveling in the Caribbean. The virus cannot be passed from human to human.

The virus causes symptoms such as fever and joint pain within a week after a person is bitten by an infected mosquito. Patients can also develop severe headaches, muscle pain and swollen joints.

There is no vaccine and no specific treatment for the virus, which typically is not fatal. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, travelers were bitten by infected mosquitoes in tropical destinations, including Anguilla, the Dominican Republic, Guyana, Haiti, Indonesia, Tonga and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The CDC recommends insect repellent and checking if door and window screens are intact to avoid mosquito bites.

Chikungunya is derived from an African word that loosely translates to "contorted with pain." It has infected tens of thousands of people in the Caribbean islands since December.

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