Dengue Fever Found on Florida's Treasure Coast

By Mark Leberfinger, Staff Writer
August 28, 2013; 10:15 AM
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An outbreak of dengue fever linked to a neighborhood on Florida's Treasure Coast has caused Mosquito Control officials to go door-to-door in an effort to get rid of possible disease-carrying mosquitos.

Three dengue fever cases were confirmed two weeks ago, Martin County Health Department spokeswoman Renay Rouse said. A fourth case was uncovered after a review of previously unconfirmed cases in the area.

All four cases are linked to people living or working in the Rio neighborhood of Jensen Beach in Martin County, Rouse said.

A worker from the Public Health Ministry shows a mosquito inside a test tube for later analysis for dengue fever in the neighborhood of Santa Lucia on the outskirts of the city of Guatemala, Thursday, July 11, 2013. Florida officials are working to prevent a dengue fever outbreak after four people living or working in a Martin County neighborhood were discovered with the disease. (AP Photo/Luis Soto)

Dengue is transmitted through the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito. A person can contract with dengue fever or a more severe form, dengue hemorrhagic fever, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 100 million dengue cases are estimated each year in most tropical areas of the world.

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Since Aug. 1, temperatures have been near normal in Fort Pierce, Fla., in St. Lucie County, where one of the dengue cases was confined, Senior Expert Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said. Normal highs are about 90 degrees.

While August has been fairly dry, July was a wet month in Fort Pierce. Approximately 150 percent of the normal July rainfall was recorded.

Door-to-door sweeps are under way in the Rio neighborhood in search of the water-breeding mosquitos, Gene Lemire of the Martin County Mosquito Control said.

The two kinds of mosquitos linked to dengue fever will breed in anything with water in them, including 5-gallon buckets, dog food bowls, drinking cups and bird baths.

If necessary, Mosquito Control will treat areas to kill both larvae and adult mosquitos, Lemire said.

The medical community is on alert for any patients who present dengue-like symptoms, including high fever, severe headache, severe eye pain and mild bleeding, Rouse said. There is no specific medication for a dengue or a dengue hemorrhagic fever infection, the CDC said.


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