The latest case of chikungunya in Florida has been confirmed in Manatee County in a person who recently visited the Dominican Republic, another incidence in the Bay area.
On Tuesday, Polk County confirmed its first case of the mosquito-borne disease. The infected victim, who lives in Poinciana, had recently traveled to the Caribbean. Officials have not released the person's gender or age.
So far, there have been three cases of chikungunya in Hillsborough and one in Pasco counties.
The illness has affected hundreds of thousands of people in the Caribbean.
"The name comes from Swahili, for 'walking bent over,'" says Dr. Daniela Chiriboga with the Polk County Health Department. "That gives you an idea how you feel."
Symptoms include fever, severe joint pain, headaches.
"Wear long sleeves, repellent, long pants," she said.
There have been 48 confirmed cases of chikungunya in Florida, but all of them have been imported. Most of the cases were in people who had recently visited Haiti (36) and the Dominican Republic (9). The highest number of cases have been in Broward (8) and Palm Beach (7) counties.
The disease is transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes. It has been documented in 40 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas.
There is no vaccine or medication to prevent the disease, but it rarely kills those infected.
"Right now, there is an outbreak in all of the Caribbean islands," Chiriboga said.
The first case of chikungunya has been found in Polk County.
It's a warning to those getting ready to travel that they should protect themselves.
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- Off Deep Woods Sportsmen 2
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- 3-M Ultra-thon Insect Repellant 8
- Natrapel 8-hour
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People at increased risk for severe disease include newborns, senior adults, and people with chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, etc.
Symptoms of chikungunya include sudden onset of high fever (>102F), 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.
Complications are more common in infants younger than a year old; those older than 65; and people with chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension.
If you experience symptoms of chikungunya fever, consult with your health care provider immediately and protect yourself against further mosquito bites.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.