Chikungunya Fever Identified in Second Central Florida Case

By on 3:13 PM

A newly described fever — chikungunya fever — emerging in the United States has been reported in two persons from Central Florida within the past week, according to multiple reports including a News 13 report. Other cases of chikungunya fever have been reported prior to these two cases as this illness becomes more common in Florida

Chikungunya fever is contracted when an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito bites someone. To date, most if not all of the cases have been "imported" from the Caribbean. The disease is not spread directly from person to person but rather from an infected person to a mosquito, which in turn bites another person and therefore spreads infection.

Florida, being in relative close proximity to the Caribbean, is expecting to see a surge in chikungunya fever cases, particularly as the summer approaches as Florida has over 40 species of mosquitoes.

The incubation from the time of the bite to signs and symptoms is 3-7 days. Symptoms include headaches (mild or severe), myalgias or muscle pain, severe joint pains in the arms and legs, high fevers and frequently a rash. It can be debilitating, with patients feeling very ill.

Visitors and residents of Florida in particular should take the necessary steps to prevent mosquito bites. This includes regularly checking their property for standing water and, if found, draining the water and/or covering it. In addition, long-sleeve tops, long pants and socks should be worn whenever possible, and exposed skin should be protected with repellant, particularly when out in the evening.

Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, FAPIC

Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, FAPIC, is the founder and president of Infection Control Consulting Services LLC (ICCS). Phenelle has more than 30 years' experience providing customized comprehensive infection control and prevention services to healthcare facilities nationwide. Her services focus on assisting hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, dental office and oral surgery practices, doctor's offices, nursing homes and other organizations with implementing and maintaining an infection control program that: complies with The Joint Commission, AAAHC, Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) and other regulatory agencies; respond to situations of noncompliance; and improve the processes for reducing risk.