The United States Center for Disease Control has expressed a health concern for all employees in St. Johns County who work in or around standing or moving water, construction sites, marsh, swamp, dunes, recreation, swimming, wood and forest areas. This also applies to marine, city and county law enforcement officers as well as building, concrete and other inspectors.
On June 10, 2014, Dr. Eddie Fleming sent the following communication to the Mayors, Directors, Commissioners, Counselors at Law, Executive Managers and Administrators of St. Johns County, City of St. Augustine and the City of St. Augustine Beach. It was Dr. Fleming’s intention to bring to the attention of the above mentioned administrators the potential health hazard which could exist from city and county employees being bitten by Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus Mosquitoes which may be infected with Dengue and Chikungunya fever.
Dr. Fleming was delighted to see St. Augustine Beach Officials respond immediately by contacting the Anastasia Mosquito Control District to receive instructions for immediate action and to schedule a workshop for their employees. ACMD and the SJC Health Department have met and are making plans to provide your training, however, it is your administrators who are responsible to schedule your training.
Employees of the county or other government agencies throughout the county may want to bring this article to your supervisors’ attention as we have entered the mosquito season. The purpose of this notice to the above administrators is give them some guidance to provide you with the knowledge to protect yourselves while working and at rest, prevent illness now and prevent lost work time.
From: Dr. Eddie Fleming ([email protected])
Sent: Tue 6/10/14 12:48 AM
TO: Mayors, Directors, Commissioners, Counselors at Law, Managers and Administrators,
Considering the circumstances outlined in the article (SEE BELOW) from the Jacksonville Times-Union concerning Chikungunya Fever and Dengue Fever in Duval County and other counties in Florida I make the following recommendation.
Respectfully recommend a 1 hour mandatory workshop be conducted for all city and county employees who are engaged in outdoor work, to include manual tasks as well as inspection tasks, where there environment would contain standing or moving water at any time. This workshop would provide the employees with knowledge to protect their safety and health from Dengue and Chikungunya while in the workplace environment.
Also recommend the Anastasia Mosquito Control District supervise this workshop along with the St. Johns County Department of Health. May I remind you that all Mosquito Control Districts and County Departments of Health were invited to attend the scheduled workshop held by Dr. Walter J. Tabachnick, Director/Professor, University of Florida IFAS, Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory, “Protecting Florida from Dengue and Chikungunya through Control of Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus.” However, only the Anastasia Mosquito Control District chose to attend from this county.
Now, we own this problem.
This disease, for which there is no vaccine and no known cure, can cause high fever, severe joint pain that commonly involves the hands and feet, joint swelling, back pain and a rash that starts 2-5 days after the fever begins. Fatal infections are rare but many patients suffer chronic joint pain, arthritis, loss of energy and depression lasting weeks to years, according to the Department of Health’s website, www.floridahealth.gov.
• Protect your employees.
• Provide them with the knowledge to protect themselves while working and at rest.
• Prevent the illness now.
• Prevent lost work time.
Thank you for your consideration,
Dr. Eddie Fleming, Certified Safety and Security Director, World Safety Organization
Consultative Status – United Nations Economic and Social Council
Retired, U.S. Government Safety and Health Administrator
“First case of chikungunya, a mosquito born virus, identified in Duval County”
More cases reported elsewhere in state along with dengue fever, another disease spread by mosquito bites
By Charlie Patton Fri, Jun 6, 2014 @ 4:00 pm | updated Fri, Jun 6, 2014 @ 4:02 pm
The Florida Department of Health in Duval County on Friday confirmed a case of chikungunya fever, a disease spread by bites from infected mosquitoes. The case involves a 49 year old female who had recently been travelling in the Caribbean.
The disease, for which there is no vaccine and no known cure, can cause high fever, severe joint pain that commonly involves the hands and feet, joint swelling, back pain and a rash that starts 2-5 days after the fever begins. Fatal infections are rare but many patients suffer chronic joint pain, arthritis, loss of energy and depression lasting weeks to years, according to the Department of Health’s website, www.floridahealth.gov.
Chikungunya and dengue fever — viral diseases spread by mosquito bites — pose a serious threat to Florida and residents should take steps to control mosquito populations to try to limit the danger, a leading health expert told the Reuters news service this week.
“The threat is greater than I’ve seen in my lifetime,” Walter Tabachnick, director of the Florida Medical Entomological Laboratory in Vero Beach, which is part of the University of Florida, told Reuters.
The Florida Department of Health, in its latest weekly report, said that through last week dengue fever had been confirmed in 24 people in Florida and chikungunya confirmed in 18 people.
The chikungunya virus was first identified during an outbreak in 1952 in southern Tanzania, although it is suspected to have been present in Africa and Asia for much longer, the website reports. The first known case of someone acquiring the virus from a mosquito bite in the Western Hemisphere was in December 2013 on St. Martin, an island in the Caribbean.
The virus is spread by two mosquito species: Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. Both species are found in Florida, but up until now Florida mosquitoes have been free of the chikungunya virus.
“It was only a matter of time” until chikungunya made its way to Jacksonville, said Mobeen Rathore, the founding director of the University of Florida Center for HIV/AIDS Research, Education and Service (UF CARES) and president of Duval County Medical Society.
“Florida is in a perfect situation to be the new frontier in the United States for old diseases carried by mosquitoes,” Rathore wrote in a recent article. “Florida has the mosquito vectors that are responsible for spreading many of the mosquito borne diseases and we welcome thousands of visitors from countries where these diseases are present and Floridians visit many of the same countries.”
The great concern now is that someone who has been infected outside the United States returns to Florida and is bitten by a mosquito here, spreading the virus to Florida’s mosquitoes, Rathore said. That’s what makes mosquito control a critical part of the response to this new illness, he said.
“Avoiding mosquito bites is the key to preventing infection with chikungunya and other mosquito-borne diseases,” said Kelli Wells, director of the Florida Department of Health in Duval County. “Floridians and visitors are encouraged to take precautionary measures to help reduce the chance of being bitten. Remember to drain and cover.”
She was referring to the health department’s recommendations to drain all standing water and to wear long pants and sleeves in places where contact with mosquitoes is likely.
Charlie Patton: (904) 359-4413