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FL on Watch for Chikungunya

As chikungunya fever sweeps through Haiti, forcing school, workplace and even  hospital closures because so many people are sick, public health officials say Florida needs to be on the lookout.

Dr. Vincent DeGennaro Jr., director of internal medicine at a hospital in Port-au-Prince, said half his staff  has already had the virus and he expects to get it too," theMiami Heraldreports. "It's unbelievable how it's spreading," he said.

Epidemiologists at the Centers for Disease Control say Florida has reported 10 cases of travelers with chikungunya, but no cases reported of people catching it in Florida.  That could change at any time, since the virus is carried by the same mosquitoes that carry dengue fever, and dengue is endemic in parts of the state.
Chikungunya has been linked to at least 14 deaths in the Caribbean and is spreading to other countries.

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.