Polk resident diagnosed with new mosquito-borne virus - WFLA News Channel 8

Polk resident diagnosed with new mosquito-borne virus

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POLK COUNTY, FL (WFLA) - A Polk County man bitten by a mosquito in the Caribbean makes the 48th Floridian infected with Chikungunya fever. 

Polk County health department officials reported Tuesday that the man has fully recovered. 

 “You have a very high fever above 102 degrees and usually with joint aches,” said Dr. Daniella Chiriboga with the Florida Department of Health of Polk County.

Two different types of mosquitoes - the Aedes aegypti and the Aedes albipictus - carry the Chickungunya fever that has now infected two dozen Floridians. 

In all cases, the disease was contracted outside the United States.

“It’s made it here only as an import,” Chiriboga said. 

The species that carries it are known as “container breeds”, because they live in area of sitting water like dog bowls and tires stored in yards. 

Officials warn you to “drain and cover”, by draining garbage cans and flushing out water in containers at least once a week. 

Polk Mosquito Control Manager Michael Mahler said permethrin is the best repellant.

Related: Growing Bay area concern about Chikungunya Virus

"Avoiding mosquito bites is the key to preventing infection with Chikungunya and other mosquito-borne diseases," said Dr. Ulyee Choe, director of the FDOH-Polk.

"Floridians and visitors are encouraged to take precautionary measures to help reduce the chance of being bitten. Remember to drain and cover."

Here are some ways you can get rid of standing water to stop mosquitoes from multiplying-
  • Drain water from garbage cans, house gutters, buckets, pool covers, coolers, toys, flower pots or any other containers where sprinkler or rain water has collected.
  • Discard old tires, drums, bottles, cans, pots and pans, broken appliances and other items that aren't being used.
  • Empty and clean birdbaths and pet's water bowls at least once or twice a week.
  • Protect boats and vehicles from rain with tarps that don't accumulate water.
  • Maintain swimming pools in good condition and appropriately chlorinated.
  • Empty plastic swimming pools when not in use.
Here are some ways you can protect yourself and your family-

  • Cover skin with clothing or repellent.
  • Wear shoes, socks, long pants and long-sleeves.
  • Apply mosquito repellent to bare skin and clothing. Always use repellents according to the label. Repellents with DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus and IR3535 are effective.
  • Cover doors and windows with screens to keep mosquitoes out.
  • Keep mosquitoes out of your house. Repair broken screens on windows, doors, porches, and patios.
Who is at risk and symptoms to watch for-
  • 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.
  • Avoiding mosquito bites while you are sick will help to protect others from getting infected.
For more information on Chikungunya, visit the Florida Department of Health

Holly Bounds contributed to this report.

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