Broward News

Dengue Fever Might Be Spreading Throughout Florida

Killer pythons, Herpes Monkeys, kittens with rabies.

What else ya got, Florida?

Dengue-fever-carrying mosquitoes, you say?


As we wrote about last month, the Florida Department of Health confirmed three cases of dengue fever contracted in Florida.

And now, it's apparently spreading, with the number ballooning to 15 in a few weeks.

Officials are hoping to contain it by sending out five survey teams to collect blood samples from Martin County residents.

The cases have been reported in the mainland Rio and Jensen Beach areas, where the survey teams are going to go door-to-door for blood samples and to ask residents if they have had any symptoms related to dengue or if they have been exposed to mosquito bites of any kind.

Dengue fever, which rarely ever hits the U.S., is an infectious disease transmitted by mosquitoes that causes fever, headache, muscle pain, and a measles-like rash on the body.

It's also called "breakbone fever" because of the severe joint pain it can sometimes cause.


A similar outbreak and survey occurred in 2009 in Key West.

According to TCPalm, the survey will last seven days and cost the county $40,000 to $50,000.

Stupid mosquitoes.

Dengue fever, which in some rare cases can be deadly, is typically carried by the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. Both types of the bloodsuckers are found in large numbers in Martin and St. Lucie, according to health officials.

The symptoms of dengue are sudden-onset fever, headache usually located behind the eyes, and muscle and joint pains, followed by a rash.

Treatments usually include either oral or intravenous rehydration. Some harsher cases might require intravenous fluids, while even more severe cases require blood transfusion.

According to health officials, none of those who have contracted dengue in Martin County had traveled out of the country.

So this appears to be a local thing with the local mosquitoes being total jerks.

For now, be sure to avoid still water and puddles, and you should empty water containers. You also may want to bathe in DEET.

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Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph