Mosquitoes carrying new virus in Pa. - abc27 WHTM

Mosquitoes carrying new virus in Pa.

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YORK, Pa. (WHTM) -

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has issued a warning about a new virus transmitted by mosquitoes.

Unlike West Nile virus, where mosquitoes become infected by biting birds that harbor the virus, chikungunya is transmitted from from human to human.

"You have someone who has been infected with the mosquito bite, then they pass it on to another human," said Tom Smith, head of Penn State's West Nile Program in York County.

Chikungunya causes debilitating joint pain, headache and fever.

"It could easily knock you out of commission for three months or more," Smith said.

The virus has origins in Asia and Africa. Researchers say overseas travelers carried it to America within the past two years. So far, it has been detected in 27 states, including Pennsylvania.

While chikungunya is not fatal, illness can be avoided by removing pools of still, standing water.

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