A new mosquito virus could be hitting close to home

It's the time of year when many folks like to get away for a summer vacation, but all that traveling can lead to a different set of dangers.

In just two weeks, the number of Americans infected with the mosquito-borne chikungunya virus has almost doubled and the virus has been found in mosquitoes in the United States putting many more people at risk.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed that at least one Florida resident became infected with the virus from mosquitoes in that state.

About 240 travel-related cases of chikungunya have been reported to the CDC this year. Symptoms of the virus are typically fever and joint pain. It transmits when a mosquito bites an infected person and then bites other people, in turn giving them the virus.

Dr. Stephen Higgs is a researcher of the chikungunya virus and says this virus is a considerable concern which has the potential for an outbreak here at home.

â??People out there know how intense mosquito biting can be,â?? he said. â??Sometimes you can be bit by dozens of mosquitoes in a short bit of time if the population densities are high. One person could infect lots and lots of mosquitoes and then, unfortunately, it can spread out from there. Each one of those mosquitoes can infect multiple people.â??

In the Heartland, the number of mosquitoes this summer has been trailing last year's totals, but researchers don't expect the trend to continue. Stormy weather can leave behind plenty of standing water, a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes to lay eggs. Besides ridding your lawn and garden of standing water, it is encouraged that you wear mosquito repellant with DEET as well as stay indoors around dusk and dawn, when the insects are most active.