Polk County health officials today confirmed the first case of the mosquito-borne chikungunya virus in the county.
Officiasl say the infected person contracted the disease during a visit to the Caribbean.
This is the 48th reported case of chikungunya in the state, and first in Polk County.
The virus has made its way to the Caribbean from Africa, Asia and islands in the Indian Ocean. They say travelers to those regions could carry the virus back to the United States and infect local mosquito populations.
Symptoms include high fever, joint pain, headache, muscle pain and skin irritations, and generally appear 3-7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.
Officials are urging residents to drain water from their garbage cans and gutters and cover their skin by wearing shoes, socks and long pants. Mosquito repellant is also encouraged.