New Health Threat Linked to Mosquitoes

Published 06/12 2014 04:27PM

Updated 06/13 2014 12:14AM

A new threat linked to mosquitoes has made its way to the Americas.

Kansas public health officials are studying a disease called the Chikungunya virus.

The disease got its name from outbreaks in east Africa more than 60 years ago.

The word describes how patients respond when infected -- they stoop from pain in their joints.

Sufferers describe the symptoms as a combination of severe flu and severe arthritis.

Dr. Lee Norman from the University of Kansas Hospital says those symptoms separate the virus from others like it.

"When you throw in this arthritis part of it, it's a different acting illness than the other mosquito-borne illnesses," said Dr. Norman. "We do have a test for it. There's different kinds of blood tests that can identify it and isolate it."

Dr. Norman says the biggest risk right now is for travelers to the Caribbean and surrounding area.

More than 65,000 cases have been reporter in that region.

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