Florida battles rising dengue fever infections

Reporter: Amy Oshier
Published: Updated:

A dengue fever alert is in place for the Florida Keys.

The warning comes after the CDC issued a national advisory because of an increased risk nationwide.

Dengue fever is frequently passed by mosquitos, the kind that are found near homes.

In Southwest Florida, mosquito control districts are launching an all-out assault on the biting bugs. Recent rains create a breeding ground that can lead to an explosion of bloodsuckers.

Mosquito-borne dengue infections are on the rise in warm-weather locations. About one in four people who are infected become sick.

Symptoms include fever, headache, eye pain, muscle and joint pain, rash, nausea, and possibly bleeding from the nose or gums. Most people recover in about a week, but severe cases can be life-threatening.

In addition to mass spraying, there are things you can do to limit risk. Things you’ve likely heard before: keep your skin covered, consider specially treated clothing, use EPA bug repellents, and get rid of pooling water.

That includes birdbaths, boats, even tarped ones, flower pots and anything that collects rainwater, all good advice since Southwest Florida is in the middle of the rainy season.

Dengue fever is recorded at its highest level in Latin American countries, with almost ten million cases this year.

That’s something to keep in mind as you plan summer travel.

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