Chikungunya: Florida Department of Health testing for mosquito-borne virus in Boynton Beach

Officials go door-to-door to educate residents

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. - By now, its funny name has nearly become a nightly dinner table conversation topic: chikungunya.

Recently a Palm Beach County man contracted the mosquito-borne virus near Boynton Beach. So the Florida Department of Health is pounding the pavement to make sure you know about the virus and how to avoid it. Experts say it's preventable.

"I think that's a good thing. It's a good way to get the information out to people," Boynton Beach resident Ivey Henry said.

Folks like her are happy to get a knock on their door from the health department. 

Crews went door to door in Boynton Beach Thursday and will be back out over the weekend. They're handing out information and taking blood samples to test for the virus.

"My whole body was shut down, I didn't feel right," said Kristina Derival. "When I put my head down, it hurt."

The Boynton Beach resident thinks she had chikungunya. She never went to a doctor, but had a lot of the same symptoms. So she's making changes to avoid ending up sick again.

"My mom is buying the bug spray," she told us.

Part of this public outreach is about prevention. Health teams are encouraging people to drain standing water from things like trashcans and reach for bug spray before going outside and then cover your skin with a thick layer, or roll down your sleeves. 

"That will stop the bugs from biting and from breeding," explained Renay Rouse from the Florida Department of Health.

She says the disease is rarely fatal, but causes fevers and muscle aches.


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