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Third Pinellas chikungunya case involved Rays’ Peralta staff

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State health officials said Monday they received confirmation of a third case of mosquito-borne chikungunya virus in Pinellas County.

Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Joel Peralta said Monday it was him, and that he likely acquired the virus was visiting the Domincan Republic over the All-Star break.

The Florida Department of Health did not name the patient but said the case involved a 38-year-old male who traveled to the Caribbean in July.

“I didn’t know what it was,” Peralta said. “I don’t remember the bite. I just got sick and wasn’t sure why.’’

Peralta, 38, was activated Monday from 15-day disabled list, where he was placed after the team said he was being tested for a virus.

“I’m about 90 percent. I’m down in stamina and I just haven’t pitched in so long, so we’ll see how it goes,” Peralta said.

To make room on the roster for Peralta, the Rays designated pitcher Erik Bedard for assignment. Bedard, 35, was moved from the starting rotation to the bullpen three weeks ago.

Chikungunya is a viral infection characterized by a high fever, severe chronic joint pain and fatigue.

There have been 87 confirmed travel-associated cases in Florida in 2014, as of July 19, the health department said.

None of the Pinellas cases were acquired locally, but two Florida cases were acquired in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, the state said.

“I don’t know how you prevent this,” Peralta said. “Dress from head to toe and cover all areas of your body. I don’t know.’’

Tribune reporter Joey Johnston contributed to this report.

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