St. Petersburg, Florida -- The Florida Department of Health has confirmed the second case of a mosquito-borne viral infection in Pinellas County. So far, the have been 81 confirmed cases of the chikungunya disease in Florida.
Health officials say the latest victim traveled to the Caribbean in June and July. No reported cases originated in the United States; every person had recently traveled to the Caribbean.
The chikungunya virus is spread by mosquitoes that are also known to transmit dengue fever. People traveling to areas in the Caribbean can protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites. Steps would include using insect repellent and staying in places with air conditioning or screens on windows and doors.
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/.