(PROVIDENCE, R.I.) -- The Rhode Island Department of Health said on Friday that they had confirmed two cases of chikungunya, a viral infection, involving travelers who returned from the Dominican Republic last month, the first cases of the disease being found in the northeast.
According to officials, the virus is primarily spread through the bites of infected mosquitoes. It is typically found in Caribbean countries, as well as Africa, Asia and islands in the Indian and western Pacific oceans, but there have been about 41 cases reported in the U.S. this year. Previous cases of chikungunya were reported in Florida, North Carolina and Tennessee. The spread of the disease prompted travel advisories for those Americans traveling to the Caribbean.
The two Rhode Island residents infected with chikungunya returned from the Dominican Republic 12 days apart. Multiple other possible cases remain under investigation.
There is no vaccine for the disease, and the treatment involves eliminating the symptoms, which include fever, joint pain, headache, muscle pain, joint swelling and/or a rash.
Officials also urge Rhode Island residents to eliminate potential mosquito breeding grounds, as mosquitoes can allow for person-to-person transmission of the disease.
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