2 FL cases of chikungunya contracted locally

WEST PALM BEACH, Florida (CBSMiami/WTSP) -- Health officials say two people bitten by mosquitoes in Florida have become infected with the chikungunya virus.

The Florida Department of Health (DOH) said Thursday one of the cases is from Miami-Dade County and the other is in Palm Beach County.

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More than 80 cases have been reported throughout Florida, but those were all contracted during travel to the Caribbean.

This means the mosquito may have bitten a person who had chikungunya, and then spread the virus by biting another person, according to the DOH.

Chikungunya is not contagious from person-to-person and is typically not life threatening and may resolve on its own, according to the department. They continue to monitor signs of local cases but are warning locals to take precaution.

"We encourage everyone to take precautions against mosquitoes to prevent chikungunya and other mosquito-borne diseases by draining standing water, covering your skin with clothing and repellent and covering doors and windows with screens," said said Dr. Anna Likos, State Epidemiologist and Disease Control and Health Protection Director.

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.

There is no vaccine or medication to prevent the disease, but it rarely kills those infected.

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

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