- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 21, 2015

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) - The Vermont Health Department is warning travelers to the Caribbean, Central and South America and parts of Mexico of a new mosquito-borne disease.

In 2013 the Chikungunya (CHIK’-en-gun-ye) virus was found for the first time in the Americas.

There have been three cases reported to the Health Department in Vermonters who traveled to the Caribbean. In the last year, there have been more than 2,000 cases reported by U.S. travelers returning from affected areas.

Epidemiologist Erica Berl says there’s no vaccine or treatment. She says the most effective way to avoid being infected is by using insect repellent.

Chikungunya infections are rarely fatal, but can cause severe joint pain, high fever, head and muscle aches, joint swelling and rash. Symptoms usually appear about a week after being infected.

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