Viral mosquito-borne disease lands in Broward County
(Source) Broward is one of three Florida counties to have a confirmed case of a viral mosquito-borne disease called chikungunya fever.
According to the Florida Department of Health, three women who recently traveled to the Caribbean, including a 29-year-old from Broward County, have been diagnosed with the disease, which is transmitted solely through mosquito bites and is not typically fatal.
A 30-year-old woman in Miami-Dade County and a 44-year-old woman in Hillsborough County have also been diagnosed with the disease, which according to the department has made its way to the Caribbean from Africa, Asia and islands in the Indian Ocean and Western Pacific. Palm Beach County has not reported any cases.
The disease can be passed along by Aedes mosquitoes that have bitten an infected person, according to the department. Because these mosquitoes can lay eggs in very small water containers, the department recommends draining water from containers where sprinkler or rain water has collected and throwing out any items that might collect water.
The department also suggests that people apply mosquito repellent, wear shoes, socks, long pants and long sleeves, and clean bird baths and pet water bowls twice a week.
Symptoms usually begin three to seven days after being bitten by an infected mosquito and can include fever and severe joint pains, often in the hands and feet, according to the department. Other symptoms can include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling or rash.
People at increased risk for severe disease include newborns exposed during delivery, those 65 or older and people with medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes or heart disease. The department advises parents to use mosquito netting to protect children younger than 2 months.
There is currently no vaccine or medication to prevent chikungunya fever. The department asks that a person infected with the disease stay indoors as much as possible until symptoms subside to prevent the disease from spreading.