NH DHHS Identifies First Cases of Chikungunya in the Granite State

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services

(DHHS) is announcing two cases of chikungunya in people who traveled to the

Caribbean. These are the first identified cases in New Hampshire of the

virus, which is spread by mosquitoes and found in many countries, though

most recently in the Caribbean and Central and South America. Currently

there is no concern of local transmission of this virus in New Hampshire

because the types of mosquitoes that carry the virus have not been

identified in this area.

The chikungunya virus was first identified in Tanzania in 1952. It spread

by mosquitoes to the Americas where it was first identified on the island

of St. Martin in 2013. The most common symptoms of chikungunya infection

are fever and joint pain. Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain,

joint swelling, and rash. Outbreaks have occurred in countries in Africa,

Asia, Europe, and the Indian and Pacific Oceans. There is no vaccine

against chikungunya and no specific treatment at this time. Chikungunya

rarely results in death but the symptoms can sometimes be severe and

debilitating. The incubation period is generally 2–7 days but can be as

long as two weeks.

“While this is our first announcement of this virus,” said DHHS Public

Health Director Dr. José Montero, “unfortunately it probably won’t be the

last. This disease and the mosquitoes that carry it are spreading. We want

to urge people who are traveling to areas where this virus now exists to

take the same precautions when outdoors that they would here to prevent

being bitten by mosquitoes, namely wear an effective insect repellent, long

sleeves, and pants. In some countries a bed net might be advisable if

screens are not available.”

People who have symptoms of chikunguyna and have recently traveled to a

country where chikungunya is spread by mosquitoes should contact their

healthcare provider. For more information about chikungunya, visit the

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov/chikungunya  or

the DHHS website at www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/cdcs/team.htm