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Saturday, January 17, 2015

Forget Ebola

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When the media mentions that Lindsay Lohan has a virus, the first reaction would probably be to roll your eyes and go on with your lives. This virus, though, has nothing to do with lifestyle and it’s coming to get us all. Well, probably not all of us, but it’s a nasty one and it will infect a lot more people than Ebola will in this country.

Chikungunya, which sounds like a Cheech and Chong sketch more than a virus, is crawling across the border and affecting people near you. Unlike Ebola, it probably won’t kill people, but also unlike Ebola, the fear isn’t ginned up to sway the election.

The illness is carried through mosquitos. It originated in Asia and Africa and then made its way to the Caribbean. Now, it’s coming into the Americas. The U.S. has already had more than 2,000 cases and about 500 of have been in New York. 




It seems to be finding a home in Florida as well:
But in Florida, the virus set up shop. The mosquitoes in southeastern Florida got infected with chikungunya and spread the infection to at least 11 people.
“That’s not very many,” says Walter Tabachnick, who leads the Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory at the University of Florida. “But we’re worried about this. All the blocks are falling into place. You’ve got to be worried about this.”
It’s rarely fatal, but it’s very painful. According to the Centers for Disease Control, “people who have it can’t stand up or don’t even want to shake your hand because it’s too painful.”

The World Health Organization says the symptoms are, “an abrupt onset of fever frequently accompanied by joint pain. Other common signs and symptoms include muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash. The joint pain is often very debilitating, but usually lasts for a few days or may be prolonged to weeks.”

There is no cure and the best doctors can do for victims is treat the symptoms.

The best treatment is avoidance. Use mosquito spray and keep your yard free from standing water.

Author: Wendy Gittleson is one of the luckiest people on the planet. She actually gets to make a living out of two of her greatest passions, writing and politics. When she's not writing, she's hiking with her dogs, riding her bike or cooking a great meal with her friends or loved one. Follow Wendy on FacebookTwitter or Google Plus.