Over the last day or so, it has been widely reported on Inquisitr and elsewhere that Mean Girls actress Lindsay Lohan has contracted Chikungunya. The New York Daily News reported that Lindsay was admitted to King Edward VII’s Hospital in London yesterday. Lindsay was reported to have a high fever and severe joint pain. Apparently, Lindsay “could hardly stand up, she was in so much pain.”
The International Business Times report that Lindsay headed to Bora-Bora in the South Pacific for some rest and relaxation over the holidays, but instead, she caught Chikungunya, a rare virus. While we are sure everyone would wish Lindsay well and hope she has a speedy recovery, people are wondering what exactly Chikungunya is.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that Chikungunya is a mosquito-borne virus that is transmitted to people by mosquitoes. The most common symptoms of Chikungunya virus infection are fever and joint pain, as has been the case with Lindsay Lohan.
Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash. Outbreaks of Chikungunya virus infection have occurred in countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
In late 2013, Chikungunya virus was found for the first time in the Americas on islands in the Caribbean. There is a risk that the virus will be imported to new areas by infected travelers. There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat Chikungunya virus infection.
Chikungunya virus is transmitted to people by two species of mosquitoes, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. Both species are found in the Southeastern United States and limited parts of the Southwest. Aedes albopictus is also found further north up the East Coast, through the Mid-Atlantic States, and is also found in the lower Midwest.
The first locally-acquired case of Chikungunya, a mosquito-borne disease, was reported July 17 in Florida. This newly-reported case represents the first time that mosquitoes in the continental United States are thought to have spread the virus to a non-traveler.
The Centers for Disease Control has confirmed 2,021 cases of Chikungunya in the U.S. in 2014. Eleven of those have been locally transmitted in Florida. Others are associated with travel, meaning a patient brought the disease to the U.S. from another country.
Chikungunya virus can only be spread by mosquito bite, and it cannot be contracted from another person. There is no known cure for Chikungunya, nor is there a vaccine to guard against the disease.
Most people infected with Chikungunya virus will develop some symptoms within three to seven days of being bitten. Chikungunya disease does not often result in death, but the symptoms can be severe and disabling. Most patients feel better within a week. For some people, the joint pain may persist for months. Once a person has been infected with Chikungunya virus, he or she is likely to be protected from future infections.
Travelers can protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites. When traveling to countries with Chikungunya virus, use insect repellent, wear long sleeves and pants, and stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens.
[Image – AP Uncredited]