Chikungunya cases lead to mosquito warnings in Florida

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Related Stories

Posted: Monday, June 16, 2014 9:42 am

SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. -- It's that time of year again: mosquito time. And it’s been highlighted recently with a confirmed case of what is called chikungunya in Charlotte County last week.

Chikungunya is a rare disease spread by mosquitoes. Monday, ABC 7 talked to local experts about what the odds are of more cases appearing and what's being done to combat the pests.

This is the time of year when mosquitoes are becoming more prevalent, and we are told that the most activity in Sarasota County is in the North Port area.

The weather is hot and rainy, so the fact that mosquitoes are here is no real surprise. What is new to many is a disease with a funny name called chikungunya. 18 cases have been reported in the state: one in Lee County and now in Charlotte County.

Sarasota County mosquito manager Matt Smith has been following the spread and says he's really not surprised. "I knew it was just a matter of time before we started seeing cases; definitely in the Caribbean and some imported cases in Florida."

Similar to dengue fever, chikungunya can make you sick like the flu, causing severe joint pain.

“We have not had a locally squired case." State Health Department officials like Michael Drennon say so far there are no cases of someone getting bit by a mosquito in Florida and acquiring the disease. Instead, they are getting bit outside of the country and returning home. "It is important to know they are out there and to do the investigation, but we are not sending out a code red or anything like that."

Right now the odds are pretty low you would catch any type of mosquito-carried disease. However, you can still get bit up.

Smith says they're seeing increases in certain areas. “In the past couple weeks we have seen population increases in the North Port and Venice area. We did put together a couple of flights with our contractor and did some aerial spraying."

They've been going after the salt marsh mosquito. It reproduces quickly in swampy areas.

Last week smith says they sprayed more than 25,000 acres and it appears to be working. "The traps went from the thousands to some in the single digits. It's nice to see. It's a huge response."

In the meantime, they're continuing to monitor for diseases like encephalitis and the west nile virus. Names we've heard before.

They’re also asking everyone to get rid of standing water in yards, dress appropriately, and put on some sort repellant. “We can't reach everyone. We can't go to every house. It's really important for people to understand that mosquito management starts with them at their house."

More about

More about

More about

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
  • 2 Don't Threaten or Abuse. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated. AND PLEASE TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
  • 3 Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
  • 4 Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 5 Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 6 Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

Welcome to the discussion.

Right Now

weather

Today

weather
83°
Details

Tomorrow

weather
86°
Details

Today

weather
85°
Details

Today

weather
82°
Details

SUBMIT PHOTOS & VIDEOS | VIEW ALL PHOTOS & VIDEOS

Send your photos & videos to Pix@MySuncoast.com and you could be featured on ABC 7 & our website.