State health officials have confirmed the first case of a new mosquito-borne virus that's running rampant in the Caribbean.
The Tennessee Department of Health said Friday evening that a person from Madison County, that's in West Tennessee near Jackson, has been diagnosed with chikungunya.
Multiple people from Tennessee and other states who have recently traveled to the Caribbean now have symptoms of the illness. More than 100,000 cases of the illnesses have been reported in the Caribbean.
People most at risk are those returning from travel to the Caribbean, but while there have been no reported cases of mosquitoes here passing on the virus, it can't be completely ruled out.
"At this time there is no vaccine against chikungunya, so the only way to contain its spread is to prevent mosquito bites," said State Epidemiologist Tim Jones, MD. "Chikungunya is spread by mosquitoes that feed during the day and are found in abundance in Tennessee."
Interactive: How to protect yourself from mosquitoes
People who get chikungunya often have a sudden onset of fever, chills, headache, nausea, sensitivity to light, vomiting, rash and severe joint pain. Fever and joint pain are the most common symptoms, and most infected people feel better within a week. However, in some the joint pain may persist for months.
Symptoms of chikungunya are similar to those of another disease spread by mosquitoes recently seen in the United States called dengue.
If you have any of the symptoms, officials say you should consult a doctor and let them know if you have recently traveled abroad.
"Anyone with symptoms of chikungunya virus should minimize his or her exposure to mosquitoes to reduce the risk of transmission," said State Medical Entomologist Abelardo Moncayo, PhD, director of the TDH Vector-Borne Diseases program. "A mosquito can pick up the virus from an infected human and infect other people."
While there is no treatment , rest, fluids to prevent dehydration, and medicines like acetaminophen to relieve fever and pain are helpful. The disease rarely results in death.