The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated their Chikungunya web page on Oct. 30 with an interesting piece of information–the number of autochthonous, or locally acquired chikungunya cases changed from 11 in Florida (and the US as a whole in 2014) to twelve.

Outbreak News Today reached out to the Florida Department of Health (DOH) for a statement and Deputy Press Secretary, Brad Dalton responded via email: The 12th case took some time to obtain convalescent samples to confirm the results. As for all suspect local or imported cases, local response was initiated immediately and the county was already under a mosquito-borne disease alert at the time. The case will be included in our 2014 annual report which should be posted very soon.

Florida map/National Atlas of the United States
Florida map/National Atlas of the United States

In 2014, a total of 2,811 chikungunya virus disease cases were reported to ArboNET from U.S. states for 2014, including the 12 autochthonous cases from Florida. New York reported the most travel-associated cases with 803, followed by Florida with 475.

In 2015 to date, the numbers are down significantly. As of December 16, 2015, a total of 653 chikungunya virus disease cases have been reported to ArboNET from 44 U.S. states for 2015. All reported cases occurred in travelers returning from affected areas. No locally-transmitted cases have been reported from U.S. states. Florida has reported only 67 cases to date.

Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes such as Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. It can cause high fever, join and muscle pain, and headache. Chikungunya does not often result in death, but the joint pain may last for months or years and may become a cause of chronic pain and disability. There is no specific treatment for chikungunya infection, nor any vaccine to prevent it. Pending the development of a new vaccine, the only effective means of prevention is to protect individuals against mosquito bites.

Robert Herriman is a microbiologist and the Editor-in-Chief of Outbreak News Today and the Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch

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