CDC issues warnings about mosquito-borne virus Chikungunya spreading across the US

More states are reporting cases of a potentially deadly mosquito-borne virus called Chikungunya, prompting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to issue warnings to health departments across the United States.

"I would take it very seriously," said Maggie Hall, a spokeswoman for the Pinellas County Health Department in Florida.

Hall sent out an email Friday reminding all residents and visitors to protect themselves from mosquitos because of the threat of serious mosquito-borne illnesses they can transmit.

Chikungunya cases have most recently been reported in North Carolina and Tennessee. However, of the 38 cases across the nation this year, 25 are out of Florida.

The virus made its way from Africa, Asia and the islands in the Indian Ocean to the Carribean countries.  Travelers from these countries could have carried the virus back to the U.S.

"It is just a plane ride away," Hall said.

Symptoms of the virus mimic the flu, including a rash, fever, aching joints, particularly in the hands and feet, headache and muscle pain.

Rarely is the tropical disease deadly.

However, babies, children and the elderly may be more vulnerable to the symptoms because of weaker immune systems.

To protect your family, health officials say you can start by practicing the "Drain and Cover" method:

Drain water from garbage cans, gutters, flower pots and any outdoor containers.

Cover your skin by wearing shoes, socks, long pants and sleeves.

You are also urged to spray on bug repellent with DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon, eucalyptus and IR3535.

For infants younger than 2 months, use mosquito netting.

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