ROYAL PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) - New concerns over the mosquito-borne illness chikungunya as three new cases were just discovered in Palm Beach County. It brings the total number of cases in Florida to 81. Palm Beach County has 13 of those cases.
State health department officials said, as it gets deeper into summer, it is only a matter of time before more local cases start popping up involving people infected with the virus.
"I felt terrible. You have a fever. You have this pain in your foot, and nobody can tell you what it is," said a Royal Palm Beach man who contracted the virus and does not want to use his name.
After several rounds of testing, the Royal Palm Beach man said his doctors figured out he had picked up the mosquito-borne virus while volunteering in Haiti.
"I was, I guess being a little hard-headed. [I thought] a little mosquito bite, what can it do?" said the Royal Palm Beach man.
His physician, Dr. Larry Bush of Lake Worth, said so far all cases of Chikungunya have originated from outside the United State. "It'll take time until a mosquito will bite somebody who traveled here, and then will infect somebody who's here who hasn't traveled," said Dr. Bush.
That is why the state health department is urging residents to use mosquito spray to prevent getting bitten. They also want residents to dump standing water in their yard to stop mosquitoes from breeding.
The Royal Palm Beach man, who was infected recently in Haiti. said Chikungunya will not stop him from traveling to volunteer. He said it highlights the need for protection from the most deadly creature on Earth. "Just a little sting, and you end up in the hospital," said the Royal Palm Beach man.
The most common symptoms of Chikungunya are severe joint pain and a high fever. Doctors recommend anyone who was traveled to the trouble spots known for the disease to see a doctor if they are not feeling well.