Officials Warn of Two Mosquito-Borne Diseases

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Story by: James Buechele

Tallahassee, Fla.

Patricia Ditto knows first-hand what summer brings to Tallahassee.

It's actually pretty scary," said Ditto. "Every time you step out, you're already slapping your arms.

Ditto has two children that she tries to keep from being bit. Already this summer, 18 cases of the chikungunya virus have been confirmed in Florida. It can cause high fever, joint pain, headaches and rashes. In each case that person has been to either South America or the Caribbean. However, the disease can spread once it arrives here in the states.

"When a person has a virus infection, the biting mosquito can pick up that virus through a blood meal and then spread the virus to another person," said Dr. Carina Blackmore of the Florida Department of Health in an online video.

Although you can't really do much when it comes to mosquitoes living in ponds, health officials are telling people there are ways to help mosquito-proof your home during the summer months.

Some tips include dumping standing water, cleaning out cutters and keeping drains and ditches free of yard waste.

Ditto says as a mother, the bugs are always on her mind.

"We play with a lot of water buckets and hoses and we have our sandbox that doesn't always get closed so we do have a lot of standing water and my first job as a mom is to make sure everything's dumped."

Already, 24 cases of Dengue Fever have also been confirmed in Florida. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle and joint pain and a rash similar to measles.

No deaths have been reported in Florida from either of the two diseases.

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