Three people in Florida have recently contracted the first cases of chikungunya virus to originate in the United States. According to federal data, instances of this disease have also now spiked in New York and New Jersey this past week.

The disease is contracted from being bitten by an infected mosquito, either Aedes albopictus or Aedes aegypti.

According to a press release by the CDC, these mosquitoes are predominantly found in the southeastern United States and parts of the southwest. Additionally, Aedes albopictus is found up along the East Coast and though the Mid-Atlantic States. They are also found in the lower Midwest. In the past, all of the cases of chikungunya virus have been contracted outside the United States.  

In New Jersey, the cases of chikungunya doubled to 25 while New York has reported 44 cases.

From 2006-2013, there was an average of 28 people per year who tested positive for the virus; all of these case were contracted outside the US, mostly in Asia.

This year, there have been 601 cases of chikungunya, most returning from the Caribbean.

The CDC said it expects to see more cases of this disease arise as the virus continues to spread in mosquitoes. They also cautioned that younger children and elderly people are more likely to develop more severe cases of the virus.

"The arrival of chikungunya virus, first in the tropical Americas and now in the United States, underscores the risks posed by this and other exotic pathogens," said Roger Nasci, chief of the CDC's Arboviral Diseases Branch. "This emphasizes the importance of the CDC's health security initiatives designed to maintain effective surveillance networks, diagnostic laboratories and mosquito control programs both in the United States and around the world."

The disease presents itself within three to seven days of being bitten. People infected have symptoms of fever, joint pain, headaches and rashes. It's not considered fatal in most cases, but is very painful. Additionally, joint pain from the disease can be long-term. Though there is no vaccine for the virus, it's not contagious, and the best way to avoid contracting the disease is to stay protected from mosquitoes.

According to the CDC, once a person is infected, the person is likely protected from contracting the infection again. There is currently no cure for the virus but symptoms can be relieved through rest, hydration and over the counter medications that relieve fever and pain.

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