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NC health officials urge vigilance for mosquitoes

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Health officials in North Carolina want residents to remain diligent in protecting themselves from mosquito bites after Florida announced its first two locally acquired cases of chikungunya.

Acting State Health Director Robin Gary Cummings says until now, people who were stricken with the virus acquired it abroad. Cummings says the Florida cases show that the virus could be transmitted in North Carolina as well.

In 2014, nine cases have been confirmed in North Carolina. Those who were stricken recently traveled to the Caribbean.

Chikungunya is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito, and the Asian tiger mosquito commonly found in North Carolina could transmit the virus.

Symptoms of chikungunya typically include the sudden onset of fever and severe joint pains in the hands and feet.

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