The Florida Department of Health reported today three imported cases of chikungunya virus, prompting health authorities to advise the public to be aware of the mosquito borne virus when traveling.
Health officials say they received three reports of imported cases of chikungunya fever to Florida from travelers who recently traveled to the Caribbean. One case is a 30 year old woman in Miami-Dade County, one case is a 29 year old woman from Broward County, and the other is a 44 year old woman in Hillsborough County.
“With a large number of people travelling to and from the Caribbean in Florida we have been monitoring for possible imported cases,” said Dr. Carina Blackmore, State Public Health Veterinarian and Deputy State Epidemiologist. “We encourage all Floridians to practice the drain and cover method to minimize mosquito exposure.”
Chikungunya made it presence known in the Caribbean in early December with the first two “locally acquired” cases in St. Martin. It has exploded throughout the Caribbean since that time. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page.
Symptoms of chikungunya usually begin 3-7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito and can include fever and severe joint pains often in hands and feet. Other symptoms can include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling or rash.
Chikungunya fever does not often result in death, but some individuals may experience persistent joint pain. There is currently no vaccine or medication to prevent chikungunya fever.
If you feel that you may have contracted chikungunya, see your health care provider. People at increased risk for severe disease include newborns exposed during delivery, older adults (≥65 years), and people with medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease. A person infected with chikungunya should stay indoors as much as possible until symptoms subside to prevent further transmission.
Early detection of the symptoms and preventing mosquitoes from biting will help prevent the disease from spreading in the United States.