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(KTVI) – This week, the Saint Louis County Department of Health reported its first case of the mosquito spread virus Chikungunya. This disease causes joint pain that was first identified in Africa in 1952.

The patient did not contract the disease locally, but while traveling in the Caribbean.

Dr. Deborah Lenschow from Washington University School of Medicine explains more.

What to watch for:
•Acute symptoms usually begin three to seven days after being bitten by an infected mosquito and generally last about a week
•Common symptoms include: fever, severe joint pain, joint swelling, headache, nausea, fatigue, muscle pain and rash
•Chronic symptoms include longer-term joint pain, more commonly found in the elderly
•Newborns may develop more severe symptoms, including swelling of the brain and permanent disability

Prevention and treatment:
•Treatment currently is directed at relieving symptoms, as there is no available vaccine
•Preventive measures include minimizing mosquito exposure by using insect repellents, avoiding standing water, covering exposed skin and installing window and door screens

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