MANATEE COUNTY, Fla.-- The Florida Department of Health in Manatee County confirmed a second case of Chikungunya Fever.
The individual just returned from a visit to the Caribbean, where health officials believe the patient contracted the disease through a mosquito bite. According to Ron Cox, Epidemiologist for DOHManatee, “the patient was hospitalized for the illness, but has since been discharged and is recovering.”
Chikungunya Fever is an illness caused by the chikungunya virus, which is transmitted by mosquitos.
“To prevent chikungunya, it is vital that Floridians and visitors continue to avoid mosquito bites” said Dr. Jennifer Bencie, DOH-Manatee Administrator. “Drain all standing water in the yard, even very small amounts. Use insect repellant with DEET, and ensure all open doors and windows have functioning screens. Protect yourself both day and night.”
Earlier this week, the Florida Department of Health confirmed the first two cases of locally acquired Chikungunya, one in Miami Dade County and the other in Palm Beach County. “Chikungunya is not contagious from person-to-person. However, if a person is infected and bitten by a mosquito, that mosquito may later spread the infection by biting another person”, said Cox.
To date, there have been upwards of 82 cases of chikungunya reported in Florida. Early detection of the symptoms and preventing mosquitoes from multiplying and biting will help prevent the disease.
Symptoms of chikungunya include sudden onset of high fever (>102⁰F), severe joint pain, mainly in the arms and legs, headache, muscle pain, back pain and rash. Symptoms appear on average three to seven days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Most patients feel better after a few days or weeks, however, some people may develop long-term effects. Complications are more common in infants younger than a year old; those older than 65; and people with chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension.
If you experience symptoms of chikungunya fever, consult with your health care provider immediately and protect yourself against further mosquito bites. A person infected with chikungunya should stay indoors as much as possible until symptoms subside to prevent further transmission. Avoiding mosquito bites while you are sick will help to protect others from getting infected. Use mosquito netting to protect children younger than two months.
Chikungunya fever does not often result in death; however, some individuals may experience persistent joint pain. There is currently no vaccine to prevent chikungunya fever.