Chikungunya fever update: Palm Beach County man tests positive in Palm Beach County

A man in Palm Beach County has tested positive for chikungunya fever, according to the Palm Beach County Health Department.

“Through our Epidemiological reporting systems we have now identified a male traveler to the Caribbean who has tested positive for chikungunya fever.  The man is recovering and protecting himself from exposure to all mosquitoes,” said Director of Florida Health in Palm Beach County Dr. Alina Alonso in a statement.

The 66-year-old man contracted the virus when he traveled to Hispaniola.

"This gentleman is recuperating and is doing well," Dr. Alonso said.

The illness is transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes. It made its way to the Caribbean countries from Africa, Asia and islands in the Indian Ocean and Western Pacific.

“With a large number of people traveling to and from the Caribbean in Florida we have been monitoring for possible imported cases,” said Dr.  Alonso. “We encourage all county residents and visitors to practice the drain and cover method to minimize mosquito exposure.”

The Palm Beach County Health Department says chikungunya, like dengue fever, can be transmitted from an infected human to an Aedes mosquito which in turn can bite another human and pass along the disease.   

It says Symptoms of chikungunya usually begin 3-7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito and can include fever and severe joint pains often in hands and feet. Other symptoms can include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling or rash. It is usually not fatal.

 There is currently no vaccine or medication to prevent chikungunya fever, according to the health department.

NewsChannel 5's Tania Rogers contributed to this report.

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