A contagious mosquito-borne disease that causes arthritis-like symptoms has spread through the Caribbean, has reached the United States and will most likely make its way to Acadiana, said mosquito control officials in Acadiana.
The disease is called the Chikungunya virus.
“It is a disease that causes fever and joint pain and feeling like arthritis. Only one in 100,000 people die,” said Glenn Stokes, who handles mosquito control for three parishes in Acadiana.
More than 100,000 cases have been reported in the Caribbean and one case in North Carolina this year.
There’s a good chance the contagious virus will make its way to Acadiana, said Stokes.
“All you gotta do is have some cruise passengers return, and, of course, look at all of our cruise ports–Galveston, Houston and New Orleans,” said Stokes.
According to Stokes, Chikungunya can be spread from person to person and through the same mosquitos that spread West Nile Virus.
Still, Stokes said, West Nile is far more deadly.
“Mortality rate of West Nile is ten times that [of Chikungunya] or even more,” said Stokes.
They already found West Nile in Lafayette, last month–the only reported case in Louisiana this year.
“It’s really starting earlier than in past years,” said Stokes.
But, Stokes said, there’s no indication they’re looking at a West Nile epidemic with no other cases thus far.