Officials are confirming the first two local cases of chikungunya, a painful but rarely fatal virus characterized by fever, headache, joint swelling and a rash.
The Department of Health and Human Services says two people from New Hampshire who recently traveled to the Caribbean became infected.
“While this is our first announcement of this virus, unfortunately it probably won’t be the last," says DHHS Public Health Director Dr. José Montero.
"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.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control, chikungunya was first found in the Caribbean in late 2013. Outbreaks have previously occurred in Africa, Asia and Europe. As of July 1, there were 114 travel-associated cases in the United States.
The virus is unlikely to spread locally because the type of mosquitoes that carry it haven’t been identified in the area.
There is no vaccine or treatment for the disease.