On July 30, the Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County announced the diagnosis of a second locally acquired chikungunya illness in that county. In addition, local news media have reported that a St. Lucie County woman has also been diagnosed with the mosquito borne viral illness. There have now been four cases of chikungunya in Florida where the patient contracted the disease locally.
On July 30, WPTV broadcast the story of Linda Sampson, from Fort Pierce in St. Lucie County. Sampson was diagnosed with chikungunya last week after suffering back pain for about a week. She continues to have occasional pain in her joints but now feels much better.
The four locally acquired chikungunya cases in Florida remain, at this time, the only ones in the continental United States. Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are also reporting local cases.
The latest figures from Florida are those in the weekly arbovirus surveillance report published by the Florida Department of Health. Through July 26, the state has noted 115 imported, or travel-associated, chikungunya cases in the state. That report also lists the original two locally acquired chikungunya cases but not the two newest.
Broward County reported 27 imported cases, while Palm Beach County has reported 20. Miami-Dade is third in the state with 16 imported chikungunya cases.
Nationally, Florida has reported the most imported chikungunya cases. The Centers for Disease Control, for the week ending July 29, show New York as second with 44 imported cases and New Jersey third with 25 imported cases.
A compilation of reports from various public health agencies and the news media produces a total of 657 chikungunya cases in the United States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The 50 states have seen 412 cases in 2014 and all but four have been travel-associated.
Chikungunya can only be transmitted through the bite of a mosquito. Contrary to some media headlines, the illness is not "spreading" or "gaining traction" in the United States. The number of illnesses contracted outside the country but diagnosed in the United States is continuing to increase but there are just four locally acquired illnesses thus far. Those have been in Florida.