Aug 01, 2014 05:02 AM EDT
Though Ebola has been on everyone's mind since the outbreak began in West Africa, another tropical disease has reached the United States.
Carried by within mosquitoes, the chikungunya virus can cause symptoms of fever and joint pain, according to the Center for Disease Control. While the disease has been documented in Asia, Africa and Europe, the virus was first detected in the Western Hemisphere in 2013.
The disease has now spread into the United States, the USA Today reports, with 215 reported cases in Puerto Rico, 107 cases reported in Florida as well as increasing number of cases in New York and New Jersey.
"With the recent outbreaks in the Caribbean and the Pacific, the number of chikungunya cases among travelers visiting or returning to the United States from affected areas will continue to increase," the CDC said, according to USA Today.
Reuters reports that cases in the Northeast have begun to increase with 25 cases in New Jersey and 44 in New York, the second-highest number of infections outside of Florida.
However, officials believe that the infections in New Jersey and New York did not originate in those states, according to Reuters, and, at least New Jersey, has begun taking preemptive steps.
New Jersey, the news agency reports, usually tests for various mosquito-borne diseases, including West Nile virus; however, now officials in the Garden State have begun testing traps for the Chikungunya virus.
Yet, the virus continues to spread. The Portland Press Herald has reported that the virus has now arrived in Maine with two cases reported by health officials. According to a statement by the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention the two cases originated from Maine residents traveling to the Caribbean. One had travelled to the Dominican Republic and the other one to the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
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