PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - A virus that has sickened tens of thousands of people in the Caribbean is starting to trickle into the United States. The virus -- chikungunya -- is spread by mosquitoes, and is notable for causing severe joint pain.
At least four cases have been reported so far in Florida.
Rhode Island health officials report two confirmed cases in their state. They involve people who had traveled to the Dominican Republic, and then returned home last month. And, in Tennessee, another patient tested positive for the virus, after visiting the Caribbean. More cases are suspected, but not yet confirmed.
The disease is transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes. It has been documented in 40 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas. Symptoms typically begin three to seven days after being bitten and include fever and severe joint pains, often in the hands and feet.
There is no vaccine or medication to prevent the disease, but it rarely kills those infected.