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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498
Email: jill.fredel@delaware.gov

Date: September 5, 2014


DOVER (September 4, 2014) - The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) announced today the second Delaware case of chikungunya virus in a 51-year-old New Castle County woman. Like the first Delaware case of the disease, the second case is related to Caribbean travel. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) laboratory confirmed the case to DPH on Tuesday. The woman was treated in the hospital in August and released.

Chikungunya is transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes. Person-to-person transmission is rare and there are no documented cases of human transmission in the US. As of September 2, the CDC reported approximately 758 cases in the continental US, with all but seven cases associated with travel. (Florida is the only state that has seen cases that are not related to travel. The state has seven cases to date acquired in residents from local mosquitoes.)

Chikungunya (pronounced chik-en-gun-ye) is a potentially debilitating disease characterized by acute onset of fever and joint pains occurring after an incubation period of three to seven days. Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash. People at risk for more severe disease include newborns infected around the time of birth, adults age 65 and older, and people with medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease.

"Given global travel habits, we considered the disease coming to Delaware almost inevitable," said Dr. Karyl Rattay, DPH director. "It is important to remember that mosquito season is not over and we are urging people to remember to protect themselves from bites both in Delaware and abroad." To prevent mosquito-borne infections, DPH recommends:


Take extra precautions when mosquitoes are active, especially at dusk and early-morning hours. When working outside, wear protective clothing such as shoes, long-sleeved shirts, and pants. Mosquito repellents containing DEET can be applied to the skin but will last only a few hours before reapplication is necessary.

For children's skin, the American Academy of Pediatricians and CDC recommends for those older than 2 months of age using a repellent which is 10 percent to 30 percent DEET. Follow the label instructions on when to re-apply the repellent. Choose the lowest concentration that will provide the required length of coverage.

Mosquito netting can be used on infant carriages, strollers and playpens. It is important to ensure the netting is secure and not possible for the child to become entangled.


Eliminating or managing standing water around your house is the best method to prevent mosquitoes from breeding in your backyard. Electronic "bug zappers" do not control mosquitoes or other flying pests, but in fact kill bugs indiscriminately, including many beneficial insects that prey on pests. Keep windows and doorways tightly sealed, and maintain window and door screens to prevent mosquitoes from entering the house.

For additional information regarding mosquito-borne diseases or to report a case of chikungunya virus, call the Office of Infectious Disease Epidemiology: 1-888-295-5156 or 302-744-1033. For more tips on preventing mosquito bites, visit www.cdc.gov/features/stopmosquitoes/

A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind, or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person's spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit http://delawarerelay.com.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, drink almost no sugary beverages.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.