The National International Health Regulations (IHR) of the United States notified the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday of the first confirmed case of locally-acquired Chikungunya virus in the state of Texas.
The patient became ill in November, testing positive for the virus by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in January. The diagnosis was later confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in May.
The case concerned officials primarily because the patient had not traveled to areas where the virus usually spreads, unlike other confirmed cases in the United States. Officials have determined that the virus is absent in local mosquitos, leading investigators to suspect that the incident is travel-related.
To prevent the spread of the virus, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) gave recommendations of appropriate mosquito breeding vector controls, mosquito surveillance and testing, and education about the virus to local residents. Additionally, local residents are encouraged to spray insecticides where appropriate as part of overall mosquito control.
While the spread of the virus is concerning for many, the WHO said that the risk of large-scale outbreaks of Chikungunya virus is relatively low. The WHO is not recommending any trade or travel restrictions to the United States based on the information available.