The Tennessee Department of Health told media outlets on Tuesday that the state may have its first cases of the chikungunya (chik-un-GUHN-ya) virus, which is painful but not usually fatal.
Officials said those exhibiting symptoms recently traveled to the Caribbean, where the disease has reached an epidemic state. Symptoms, including a high fever, nausea and joint pain, can be severe.
Abelardo Moncayo, director of the state Health Department's vector-borne diseases program, says anyone exhibiting symptoms should limit their exposure to mosquitoes because the insects can pick up the virus from an infected person and spread it.
He says the species of mosquitoes that carry the disease are abundant in Tennessee.
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