Chikungunya Fever-An Emerging Mosquito Virus of Concern

As you prepare for the July 4th holiday, remember to protect yourself and your family from mosquito-borne diseases.  Outbreaks of Chikungunya fever were first reported in Tanzania in 1952.  Chikungunya fever is a virus and two mosquito species commonly found in Florida- the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti, and the Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, are potential vectors.  Increasingly, individuals who have traveled to Caribbean and Latin American countries have returned to the U.S. with imported cases of Chikungunya fever.  Over time, the potential for locally acquired cases of Chikungunya exists due to the distribution of the mosquito vectors within Florida.  Symptoms of the disease may include a high fever, rash, muscle pain, and joint pain within two weeks of a mosquito bite.  Additionally, it is possible for a mosquito to transmit both Chikungunya fever and Dengue fever to a person.  The Florida Department of Health continues to protect the citizens of Florida through weekly mosquito surveillance and disease reports.  Weekly reports are available at:

http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/mosquito-borne-diseases/surveillance.htmlScreen Image of the Florida Department of Health Chikungunya website.

During 2014, travel related cases of Chikungunya (48) and Dengue (24) have occurred in Florida.

How can you prevent exposure  to Chikungunya or Dengue?  Use EPA approved mosquito repellants, such as those containing DEET, reduce standing water in your yard (a habitat for immature larval mosquitoes), and avoid the outdoors during dawn and dusk.  It is also important for homes to have screens and windows that will prevent entry of mosquitoes into the home.

Florida Department of Health, Mosquito-Borne Diseases Information

http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/mosquito-borne-diseases/

For the latest Florida Department of Health report on June 21, 2014, Volusia County was the only Florida county under a mosquito-borne illness advisory.

The World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC), and country-specific government agencies are monitoring the spread of locally acquired Chikungunya fever in the Caribbean since its presence was first confirmed in December 2013.  The following countries/US territories are listed as reported cases of the Chikungunya virus according to the CDC website available here:  http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/watch/chikungunya-caribbean

  • Anguilla
  • Antigua
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Dominica
  • Dominican Republic
  • French Guiana
  • Guadeloupe
  • Guyana
  • Haiti
  • Martinique
  • Puerto Rico
  • Saint Barthelemy
  • Saint Kitts
  • Saint Lucia
  • Saint Martin (French)
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Sint Maarten (Dutch)
  • Turks and Caicos Islands
  • US Virgin Islands

The U.S., CDC has a useful national website on Chikungunya at:

http://www.cdc.gov/chikungunya/

Some links to local Florida news articles related to Chikungunya Fever Virus are below-

Bradenton Herold, First Reported Case of Chikungunya Virus in Manatee County, June 27, 2014

http://www.bradenton.com/2014/06/27/5228343/first-case-of-chikungunya-fever.html

News 13, the Florida Department of Health confirmed a case of Chikungunya in Orange County, June 9, 2014

http://www.mynews13.com/content/news/cfnews13/news/article.html/content/news/articles/cfn/2014/6/9/chikungunya_fever.html

Brevard Times, May 2014

http://news.brevardtimes.com/2014/05/new-mosquito-virus-threatens-florida_18.html

SunSentinel, May 2014

http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2014-05-21/health/fl-chikungunya-palm-beach-20140521_1_palm-beach-county-man-chikungunya-fever-health-department

Outside of Florida News Articles for Chikungunya Fever Virus-

The Leaf Chonicle.com, Tennessee Department of Health reports two cases of Chikungunya, June 29, 2014

http://www.theleafchronicle.com/article/20140629/SPORTS/306290016/OUTDOORS-Chikungunya-virus-found-Tennessee

The Yucatan Times, First Case of Chikungunya Virus Detected in Mexico, June 27, 2014

http://www.theyucatantimes.com/2014/06/chikungunya-virus-detected-in-mexico/