Published: Jun 12, 2014 8:27 AM EDT
Updated: Jun 12, 2014 8:51 AM EDT

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Chikungunya, a painful, mosquito-born fever has been spreading across the Caribbean.  Florida reports 18 cases and this is concerning many parents.  Discussing this illness on WINK News This Morning is Dr. Annette St. Pierre-Mackoul.

 Chikungunya Illness:
 
Symptoms occur 3-7 days after being bitten.
Headaches
Skin rashes
Acute fevers lasting 2-5 days
Followed by joint pains lasting for years
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History of Chikungunya:
 
Discovered in Africa in 1952.
Since December, spreading across Caribbean.
Haiti = 15,578 cases
Dominican Republic = 38,639 cases
Cuba = several dozen cases
Florida = 18 cases - all contracted abroad.
40 countries with documented cases.
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Spread of Chikungunya:
 
Mosquito-borne
Rainy season increases mosquitoes.
No vaccine available
No medication available
Rarely fatal - 7 deaths associated with other concurrent illness.
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Prevention of Mosquito-born illness:
 
Insect repellent - DEET 10-30%.
Apply to exposed skin - avoid hands and face of children.
Apply to clothes before putting them on.
Lightweight, long sleeved shirts and pants.
Socks over pant legs.
Socks and sneakers.