A Forsyth County resident who recently returned from the Caribbean has been diagnosed with the state’s first case of chikungunya, a painful illness transmitted by mosquitoes, according to state public health officials.

County and state health experts are spreading information about the illness in part to try to head off any chance that the disease gets a foothold in the local mosquito population. It can be spread via Asian tiger mosquitoes that are common here in the warm months and are aggressive daytime biters.

The illness has infected millions of people in the tropics, but travelers have also triggered some locally transmitted cases in Italy and France. Dozens of cases have been reported in the United States among returning travelers, but so far there have been no reported instances of the disease being acquired in North Carolina or the continental United States.

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