ST. LOUIS COUNTY – The first case of a mosquito-related disease has been discovered in St. Louis County, according to St. Louis County Department of Health spokesperson Craig LeFebvre.
A person has been infected with the virus, Chikungunya, which is spread only by mosquitoes. The person contracted the virus while traveling in the Caribbean.
The illness began to spread in the United States through travels in June, according to a USA Today report, and only two cases in Florida have been acquired in the United States. It's usually severe but not a fatal disease.
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Symptoms of the virus can develop within three to seven days after being bitten by an infected mosquito and can include fever and joint pain.
LeFebvre said no mosquitoes in St. Louis carry the Chikungunya.
In order to reduce mosquitos and chances of being bitten, the County Department of Health suggests the following:
- Remove all standing water. Change water in birdbaths at least once a week.
- Keep gutters clean and repair any tears in door and window screens.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants and light colors when outdoors.
- Spray clothing with repellents containing DEET.
- Look for products containing the active ingredient methoprene or Bti (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis) to place in birdbaths or ponds, to prevent mosquitoes from developing.
- Eliminate unkempt vegetation to eliminate breeding and resting areas for mosquitoes.