August 17th, 2010
11:36 AM ET

Dengue fever increases in Florida

The number of dengue fever cases, a mosquito-borne disease that can cause mild to serious symptoms and even death, has increased this month, according to the Florida Department of Health.

While dengue fever has not caused any deaths in Florida this year, health officials asked residents to take precautions such as wearing protective clothing, using mosquito repellents and draining still water near the home, like  the water in bird baths, to prevent the pests from breeding.

Dengue fever is common in the tropics and can cause symptoms like high fever, rash, severe bleeding and even death. The recent outbreak in Florida has puzzled local health authorities, who say the last outbreak occurred in 1934.

Officials said that 29 locally acquired cases of dengue fever have been reported through mid-August. The state officials also detected 67 “imported” cases of dengue fever, which means it involved people who had traveled to areas under a dengue endemic, such as the Caribbean or Central and South America.

Surviving dengue fever: The first known victim of the outbreak

Dr. Carina Blackmore, the department of health's state public health veterinarian, said officials need more data to answer questions about why the outbreak is occurring now.

“We do know that we used to have dengue in Florida,” she said in a press briefing Tuesday. “Why we’re currently experiencing an outbreak, I can’t answer that question.”

NIH begins testing dengue vaccine

Meanwhile, Florida authorities are also tracking two other mosquito-transmitted viruses:  West Nile and Eastern equine encephalitis.

There have been four deaths in Florida caused by EEE, one of the most severe mosquito-transmitted diseases, which can cause headaches, fevers, chills and could progress into seizures or coma. It has a 33 percent mortality rate for victims, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s an average year for EEE in Florida in comparison with previous years.

West Nile virus usually peaks in August and September. Florida officials confirmed one human case last week, Blackmore said. The activity of West Nile virus, in comparison to previous summers is slow, she added.

For more ways to prevent mosquito-transmitted illnesses check here.

Florida confirms 24 cases of dengue fever in Key West

soundoff (142 Responses)
  1. My 2 cents

    To the person whose mom passed from this - I am so sorry.

    To the other morons who can't read an article without blaming Bush– you are a bunch of nutjobs. Your 'man' is ruining the country. Instead of blaming Bush, why don't you ask your BOY to provide some jobs for Florida. We are at 13% unemployment and he refuses to help. And lets not even talk about all his help during the oil spill that has affected MY state.

    The only thing that has improved since 'Mr Born in Kenya (by his wifes own admission) and not even AMERICAN' took over is his golf swing.

    Then again, what do you expect from CNN groupies who drink the Koolaid?

    August 20, 2010 at 00:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Enoch Hux

    Keep working, splendid job!

    June 22, 2012 at 18:34 | Report abuse | Reply
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About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.