The Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County has received confirmation of its third chikungunya case.
Officials say a 38-year-old male who traveled to the Caribbean in July is infected.
The mosquito-borne viral infection is characterized by a high fever, severe chronic joint pain and fatigue. There have been 87 confirmed travel-associated cases in Florida in 2014, as of July 19.
None of the Pinellas cases were acquired locally, but two Florida cases were locally acquired in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.
Chikungunya virus is most often spread to people by infected Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes; these mosquitoes also transmit dengue virus. They bite mostly during the daytime. There's no treatment or vaccine available.
Infected persons are advised to avoid mosquito bites while they're ill to prevent transmission to someone else. Chikungunya is not transmitted by person-to-person contact.
Persons traveling to areas in the Caribbean can protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites by using insect repellent and staying in places with air conditioning or screens on windows and doors.
Infants, older adults and those with underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease are at risk for more severe forms of the disease. The incubation period can range from one to 12 days after a bite from an infected mosquito.
To protect yourself from mosquitoes, follow the Drain and Cover formula:
- Drain standing water around your home where mosquitoes can breed.
- Cover your arms and legs when outdoors and use mosquito repellent. Maintain your home to fix holes in screens where mosquitoes can enter. Cover infant cribs and carriers in mosquito netting to provide more protection for babies.