The Florida Department of Health in Brevard County today confirmed an imported case of chikungunya 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.
“Avoiding mosquito bites is the key to preventing infection with chikungunya and other mosquito-borne diseases,” said Heidar Heshmati, Director, DOH-Brevard. “Floridians and visitors are encouraged to take precautionary measures to help reduce the chance of being bitten. Remember to drain and cover.”
Officials had the following advice for residents:
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, adults over 65, and people with chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, etc.
Symptoms of chikungunya include sudden onset of high fever (typically above 102 degrees), 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.
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.
The department coordinating with county officials and mosquito control to increase spraying efforts and educational outreach.