LEE COUNTY, Fla.- A rash, headache, nausea, and severe joint pain, that all comes from a disease carried by mosquitoes. The disease is quickly moving through islands in the Caribbean. Now, Lee County Mosquito Control is doing everything it can to make sure it doesn't spread here!
We are just a month away from mosquito season, and the reason why experts are working to raise awareness is because Chikungunya is found in a mosquito we have here in Lee County. So tonight, they are working to educate because once infected with the disease, it is known to spread rapidly. The mosquito looks like your average mosquito.
Chikungunya, often called Chik-V for short has spread rapidly across the Caribbean Islands.
"These are all separate islands so it's not like these mosquitoes are flying from one island to another," said Deputy Director of Education and Communication at Lee County Mosquito Control, Shelly Redovan.
Mosquito experts with Lee County Mosquito Control, say here, in Southwest Florida, we need to be vigilant and aware, especially since we are weeks away from mosquito season.
"It's a mosquito biting an infected human, getting the disease and then transmitting it to another human," said Redovan.
That means people with Chik-V could infect other people. The mosquitos in Lee County, the Salt Marsh mosquito and the Flood Water mosquito, can be holders of the disease.
"This is something that we are not going to be easily able to control, we need people to police their own property and make sure they don't have standing water around."
The bite can be dangerous. In fact, the word Chikungunya means "to become contorted." The road to recovery after a single bite can take up to a year.
"It's very, very hard on the joints, making the patient feel like they being contorted and they can't straighten up."
Mosquito control workers are in the first phase of becoming educated on Chick-V.
"We are using our traps, such as the one here next to me, take collections from mosquitos, brought in, ground up to see if they have the generic material."
Now, we are told this is not a deadly disease. In fact, under five percent of the people infected die from the disease. However, it could take up to 12 days for a person to know they have been infected. If infected, you are told to immediately call you doctor. To prevent contracting the disease, you are urged to use air conditioning or window/door screens, use mosquito repellents on exposed skin, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, wear permethrin clothing, empty standing water from outdoor containers, and support local vector control programs.
There is no vaccine or medication to prevent Chikungunya.