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Monday, May 21, 2018
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Pinellas reports second case of chikungunya virus

Pinellas County health officials on Tuesday confirmed the second case of the mosquito-borne chikungunya virus.

Officials with the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County said the virus was contracted by a Pinellas resident who traveled to the Caribbean in June or July.

There have been 81 confirmed cases of the virus in Florida this year, officials said. None of the cases were acquired locally and there have been no reports of anyone acquiring the disease within the United States.

Florida's Department of Health says 15 new cases of the virus were reported last week. Officials said all the patients documented in Florida contracted the virus while traveling in the Caribbean.

Chikungunya is transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes. It was documented in
40 countries in Asia, Africa and Europe before it was first confirmed in the Caribbean late last year.

Symptoms typically begin three to seven days after being bitten and include fever, fatigue and severe joint pain, often in the hands and feet. There is no vaccine, but it rarely kills those infected.

People infected with chikungunya are urged to avoid mosquito bites to prevent transmitting the virus.

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