Health Officials Confirm Two Cases of Chikungunya Fever

By: Florida Department of Health in Leon County; Lanetra Bennett; James Buechele Email
By: Florida Department of Health in Leon County; Lanetra Bennett; James Buechele Email
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UPDATE 11:06 p.m.
story by: James Buechele

Tallahassee, Fla.

"Awareness or annoyance really," says Colin Montes of the mosquitoes. "In the summer they're definitely out more."

Colin is part of Flow Revolution that uses various items to help get into a meditation state.

He and his friends are very aware of the biting bugs. On Wednesday, the Leon County Health Department confirmed two cases of chikungunya fever.

Jeremy Billington says he and his wife aren't that concerned. However, they make sure their daughter Avery is covered before heading out.

"We try to spray her down try to keep the mosquitoes off of her try to keep her away from the mosquitoes so they don't get itching," said Billington.

As for Colin, he says although he's taking precautions, he's not worried about getting a mosquito-borne illness.

"I know they're out there. But nobody I've known or me myself hasn't gotten a fever."


Update
June 18, 2014
By: Lanetra Bennett

Tallahassee, FL - The Leon County Health Department announced Wednesday that two people in Leon County have chikungunya.

Claudia Blackburn, the Leon County Health Officer, says, "They had visited Haiti and that they were unrelated; they're not related cases. They had each been to Haiti and that's really the only information that I can share."

Chikungunya is a viral infection transmitted by infected mosquitoes. Health officials say it originated in southeast Africa and has become well established in the Caribbean and Asia.

If a mosquito bites an infected person, it can spread the infection by biting another person. Blackburn says, "During a certain window of infection, it is possible. But, whether it would actually happen is probably very improbable at this time because when you're talking about two cases, the risk is really, really low. But, we do have the kind of mosquito that can transmit chikungunya."

Blackburn says that window of being able to spread the disease is a week or two weeks after the initial infection.

Glenn Pourciau, the Leon County Stormwater Supervisor, says, there are no plans to increase mosquito control. He says it will continue to be done on an as requested basis.

Pourciau says, "In response to Chikungunya, we don't have any specific action plans because at this point it's an imported disease. So, there's not much we can do. This disease is spread by the day-bitter species. So the trucks at night won't have any effect on those particular species. Here, it's the Asian Tiger Mosquito that can potentially transmit the disease."

Health officials say the symptoms usually begin in three to seven days. The symptoms include fever, severe joint pains, headache, muscle pain, joint swelling or rash.

If you experience flu-like symptoms after being bitten by a mosquito, Blackburn advises you to see your doctor and make sure to talk about your travel history.

Blackburn says most people that get chikungunya do recover. However, the risk for complications are greater for the elderly, those with chronic diseases and infants.

Leon County officials say the best way to protect yourself is by eliminating or reducing your exposure to mosquitoes.
Do that by:
--using mosquito repellent that contains, Deet
--using air conditioning or window/door screens
--wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants
--wearing permethrin-treated clothing
--emptying standing water from outdoor containers
--supporting local vector control programs

Blackburn says there is no evidence that chikungunya can be transmitted to pets and livestock.


Update
June 18, 2014
By: Lanetra Bennett

Tallahassee, FL - Leon County Health Officer says the two cases of Chikungunya came from Haiti.

The people have not been identified but the health officer says there are two unrelated cases.

Two separate people from Leon County recently visited Haiti on two separate visits. They contracted the disease from a mosquito in Haiti.

Health officials say symptoms usually begin 3 to 7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. The most common symptoms are fever and severe joint pain, often in the hands and feet.

Because this is peak mosquito season in our area, the health officer recommends residents protect themselves by reducing mosquito exposure by:
- Use of repellent
- Using window/door screens
- Emptying standing water from outside containers.

News Release: Florida Department of Health in Leon County
June 18, 2014

Tallahassee--The Florida Department of Health in Leon County today confirmed two cases of chikungunya
(chik-en-gun-ye) fever, a disease spread by bites from infected mosquitoes. If a person is infected and bitten by a mosquito, that mosquito may later spread the infection by biting another person. The two people infected had both traveled separately to Haiti recently.

“Avoiding mosquito bites is the key to preventing infection with chikungunya and other mosquito-borne diseases,” said Claudia Blackburn, MPH, RNC, CPM, Health Officer. “Floridians and visitors are encouraged to take precautionary measures to help reduce the chance of being bitten. Remember to drain and cover,” she said.

DRAIN standing water to stop mosquitoes from multiplying.
• Drain water from garbage cans, house gutters, buckets, pool covers, coolers, toys, flower pots or any other containers where sprinkler or rain water has collected.
• Discard old tires, drums, bottles, cans, pots and pans, broken appliances and other items that aren't being used.
• Empty and clean birdbaths and pet's water bowls at least once or twice a week.
• Protect boats and vehicles from rain with tarps that don’t accumulate water.
• Maintain swimming pools in good condition and appropriately chlorinated. Empty plastic swimming pools when not in use.

COVER skin with clothing or repellent.
• Wear shoes, socks, long pants and long-sleeves.
• Apply mosquito repellent to bare skin and clothing.
• Always use repellents according to the label. Repellents with DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus and IR3535 are effective.

COVER doors and windows with screens to keep mosquitoes out.
• Keep mosquitoes out of your house. Repair broken screens on windows, doors, porches, and patios.

People at increased risk for severe disease include newborns exposed during delivery, older adults (≥65 years), and people with chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, etc. 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. Avoiding mosquito bites while you are sick will help to protect others from getting infected.

For more information on chikungunya, visit the Florida Department of Health at This Link or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at This Link.


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