Rays pitcher 3rd case of chikungunya in Pinellas

Cleawater, Florida -- The Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County has received confirmation of its third chikungunya case in a 38-year-old male who traveled to the Caribbean in July.

The announcement came the same day Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Joel Peralta was reinstated from the 15-day disabled list.

During a media briefing at Tropicana Field Monday, Peralta confirmed he did in fact have chikungunya, which he got during a trip back home to the Dominican Republic over the All-Star break.

Back on July 21, Peralta had said he thought he may have contracted the virus, but was awaiting test results to confirm it.

RELATED:Rays pitcher may have chikungunya

The mosquito-borne viral infection is characterized by a high fever, severe chronic joint pain and fatigue. There have been 87 confirmed travel-associated cases in Florida in 2014, as of July 19.

The virus is most often spread to people by infected Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes; these mosquitoes also transmit dengue virus. They bite mostly during the daytime. There's no treatment or vaccine available.

None of the Pinellas cases were acquired locally, but two Florida cases were locally acquired in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

Infected persons are advised to avoid mosquito bites while they're ill to prevent transmission to someone else. Chikungunya is not carried by person-to-person contact. Infants, older adults and those with underlying medical conditions such as diabetes or heart disease are at risk for more severe forms of the disease.

The incubation period can range from one to 12 days after a bite from an infected mosquito.

To protect yourself from mosquitoes, follow the Drain and Cover formula:

  • Drain standing water around your home where mosquitoes can breed.
  • Cover your arms and legs when outdoors and use mosquito repellent.

Maintain your home to fix holes in screens where mosquitoes can enter. Cover infant cribs and carriers in mosquito netting to provide more protection for babies.

For information about chikungunya, go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's information page at http://www.cdc.gov/chikungunya/. For information about DOH-Pinellas, go to www.PinellasHealth.com.


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