CBS Chicago: ‘Vacation Virus’ Surfaces In Illinois

CBS Chicago: ‘Vacation Virus’ Surfaces In Illinois

(CBS) – They call it the “vacation virus,” and Illinois health officials now report more than a dozen cases of the mosquito-borne Chikungunya fever.

A Chicago woman shares her struggle with the illness with CBS 2’s Chris Martinez.

Two months after contracting the virus, Edra Soto is still feeling the pain. She’s still tired and is still feeling the pain.

Soto, an artist and teacher at the Art Institute of Chicago, likely was bit by a mosquito during a visit to see her parents in Puerto Rico.

“I looked at it and though, hmm, this doesn’t look like a normal bite,” Soto says. “And true enough, next thing I felt really weak, and I couldn’t stay awake.”

Hers is one of nearly 600 cases now reported in 15 states. The Chikungunya virus, commonly called “chick-v,” is transmitted only via two species of mosquitoes.

Symptoms include fever and joint pain, along with muscle aches, headaches, joint swelling and rash.

Although symptoms typically last up to five days, Soto has experienced them far longer.

“(It) was really difficult, because you think it’s gonna go away, but it doesn’t, and it’s there again,” she says.

Researchers are fine-tuning an experimental vaccine for the virus. As of now, there isn’t one available.

All of the cases in the U.S. so far have been contracted in other countries.

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