Dengue fever returns to Florida

Aug 18, 2010 By Fred Tasker

The return of dengue fever to Florida for the first time since 1934 is "unusual but not unexpected," state health officials said Tuesday. They acknowledged they can only speculate why it's happening.

So far in 2010, Florida has seen 28 locally acquired cases in Key West and one in Broward, plus 67 cases in the rest of the state acquired in foreign countries. Key West also had 25 cases in 2009, Florida's first in decades.

"We used to have dengue fever years ago, but it went away when we got better housing and better mosquito control," Dr. Carina Blackmore, expert in mosquito-borne illnesses for the Florida Department of Health, said in a Tuesday press conference.

"We know which mosquito (Aedes aegypti) transmits dengue fever. Those have been here all along, so we've known it could be transmitted. We've been watching for it for years.

"Because of human behavior, we've stayed indoors in the air conditioning, so mosquitoes didn't have access to us. So it was hard for dengue to be sustained in Florida."

Blackmore countered stories that dengue fever might have come via aid workers visiting Haiti, where dengue fever is prevalent. DNA testing has shown that the Key West cases came from Mexico, she said.

The Broward case apparently had a different source because it was from the Type 3 strain of dengue, while the Key West cases are from the Type 1 strain. Samples from the Broward case are being sent to the dengue lab in Puerto Rico run by the U.S. , but she said it could take weeks to identify its origin.

Protecting against the Aedes aegypti is different from protecting against other mosquito species, Blackmore said. Most mosquitoes fly at dusk and dawn, so people should wear long sleeves and pants and use repellent at those times.

"The dengue mosquito is a day-flyer," she said, so people should use precautions all day long.

Also unlike other mosquitoes, which can feed on humans and animals alike, the Aedes aegypti feeds almost exclusively on humans, she said. So it flies around front and back doors, breeding in bird baths and water-filled pet dishes. It even tries to get inside the house, where it can breed in vases and even in water-filled bottle caps.

Spraying doorways with pesticides from home improvement stores can help, officials have said, although such sprays contain lower concentrations of bug-killing ingredients than the sprays used by county trucks.

Explore further: Evidence-based recs issued for systemic care in psoriasis

4.8 /5 (5 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Dengue kills at least 27 in New Delhi

Oct 13, 2006

At least 27 people have died of dengue in New Delhi, as health officials continue to work to control areas where mosquitoes, which spread the disease, breed.

China alerts about dengue fever

Oct 11, 2006

China has issued an alert against dengue fever as the peak season for the mosquito-borne disease continues in the southern parts of the country.

Scientists closing the zap on dengue fever

Jan 01, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- A mosquito-borne virus that each year harms up to 100 million people and kills more than 20,000 is a step closer to being controlled after a breakthrough by Queensland scientists.

Ayurvedic nightshade deadly for dengue mosquito

Apr 03, 2008

Mosquitoes responsible for spreading disease are increasingly becoming resistant to synthetic insecticides. Now research published in the online open access journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine suggests that t ...

Recommended for you

Evidence-based recs issued for systemic care in psoriasis

10 hours ago

(HealthDay)—For appropriately selected patients with psoriasis, combining biologics with other systemic treatments, including phototherapy, oral medications, or other biologic, may result in greater efficacy ...

Bacteria in caramel apples kills at least four in US

10 hours ago

A listeria outbreak believed to originate from commercially packaged caramel apples has killed at least four people in the United States and sickened 28 people since November, officials said Friday.

Steroid-based treatment may answer needs of pediatric EoE patients

10 hours ago

A new formulation of oral budesonide suspension, a steroid-based treatment, is safe and effective in treating pediatric patients with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), according to a new study in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the official clinical practice journal ...

Discovery of genes that predispose a severe form of COPD

13 hours ago

A study by Ramcés Falfán-Valencia, researcher at the National Institute of Respiratory Diseases (INER), found that the mestizo Mexican population has a number of variations in certain genes that predispose ...

On the environmental trail of food pathogens

14 hours ago

Tracking one of the deadliest food contamination organisms through produce farms and natural environments alike, Cornell microbiologists are showing how to use big datasets to predict where the next outbreak could start.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

scidog
not rated yet Aug 18, 2010
"better housing"..i understand more people are living outdoors in Florida these days.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.