Until this week, chikungunya fever was a difficult-to-pronounce, extremely painful mosquito-borne disease that dozens of Floridians had contracted abroad -- particularly in the Caribbean, where the illness has spread like wildfire through Haiti and other island nations.
Now, chikungunya is a difficult-to-pronounce, extremely painful illness that's spreading all on its own through Florida's very own sizable horde of mosquitoes. A Miami-Dade woman and a Palm Beach man have become the first two Floridians health officials have confirmed caught the bug in the Sunshine State. Grab your repellent, people!
In case you haven't been keeping your hypochondriac dreams stocked with reports about South Florida's new least favorite epidemic-in-the-making, chikungunya is a nasty little virus that probably originated in Africa before making its way to the Caribbean in recent years.
On the plus side, it's rarely fatal. On the downside, to recycle a rather vivid tweet from our last update on the disease, it makes you feel like this:
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Yeah, no bueno.
County health officials tell the Miami Herald that there's no reason to panic just yet but that they'll be upping their mosquito spraying plans and urging residents to drain standing water on their property.
The disease is spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which primarily attacks during the day, so you should also wear extra bug spray if you're in mosquito-prone areas in the sunlight.