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Mosquito borne virus spreading to the U.S.
The mosquito-borne virus called Chikungunya Fever is rapidly spreading in the Caribbean, and 56 cases have been confirmed in the U-S. It's believed all of those people got the virus while traveling outside the country. A local patient says the pain is intense, and the recovery is slow.
Laura Hussey "Dr. Wendy Bovard keeps a home here in Baker, but usually she's overseas. In February, she was in the Philippines working in the relief effort after Typhoon Haiyan"
As a child protection specialist working to prevent human trafficking, Dr. Bovard didn't pay much attention when her ankle started to swell.
Dr. Wendy Bovard "That night I did wake up with a fever, and I felt really ill. I just went and poured cold water on myself and took Tylenol"
She figured she had malaria....something she'd lived through several times. Then she collapsed, and was taken to a hospital in Manila. She had fever for a week, a rash all over her body, and severe pain in every joint....the trademark of Chikungunya.
Dr. Wendy Bovard "I didn't know where the pain was, really. To say it was joints at that point I probably couldn't have....it was just the whole body was so painful"
She came home in a wheelchair. Weeks later, pain in her shoulders still kept her up at night.
Dr. Bovard "I think the shoulder thing is why that word Chikungunya, that word in Swahili means "to be bent", because you feel that way. You actually feel like your body bends to the pain"
Dr. Bovard was treated with painkillers, physical therapy, and acupressure. At the three month mark, she saw significant improvement. But she's not back to normal yet, and has a warning for people traveling to the Caribbean or anywhere that mosquitoes carry Chikungunya.
Dr. Bovard "There's no prophylaxis for this and there's no cure. So just be very careful"
Laura Hussey "Dr. Bovard would like to go back to work tomorrow. Her doctors have said she has to wait until at least September. In Baker, Laura Hussey, Channel 3 News"