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Mosquito-Borne Disease 'Chikungunya' Found in Florida

May 19, 2014 07:09 AM EDT
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Chikungunya, a mosquito-borne disease, was recently detected in Florida, according to the State Health Department.

Three counties in the Sunshine State have reported the viral disease. According to Florida Department of Health, the disease was detected in travelers who recently returned from the Caribbean.

The patients included a 30-year-old woman in Miami-Dade County along with a 29-year-old woman from Broward County and a 44-year-old woman in Hillsborough County.

The disease is found in several Asian and African countries. In 2013, the disease was for the first time detected in the Americas on islands in the Caribbean, according to CDC.

"With a large number of people travelling to and from the Caribbean in Florida we have been monitoring possible imported cases," said Dr. Carina Blackmore, State Public Health Veterinarian and Deputy State Epidemiologist, according to a news release. "We encourage all Floridians to practice the drain-and-cover method to minimize mosquito exposure."

Chikungunya is a mosquito-borne disease that causes fever and joint pain in humans. Other symptoms of the disease include rash, muscle pain and fatigue. Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus are the two species of mosquitoes, which spread other diseases too, are involved in chikungunya transmission.

 Currently, there is no cure for the disease.

Newborns, adults over the age 65 years and people with certain medical conditions such as diabetes and heart problems are at an increased risk of catching the infection. Health officials have asked people with symptoms similar to chikungunya to stay indoors to prevent transmitting the disease on to others.

Other residents are advised to protect themselves from mosquito bites, especially during the day. Cleaning drains and removing stagnant water from house gutters, pools and flower pots might reduce exposure to mosquitoes. 

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