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Dengue Fever Shows Up in Florida Once Again

Update Date: Aug 27, 2013 12:43 PM EDT
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Dengue fever, which is also called breakbone fever, is an infection caused by the dengue virus. This disease is transmitted by multiple species of mosquitos in tropical regions. After receiving a bite from an infected mosquito, people can experience symptoms such as fever, headache, joint and muscle aches and skin rash. Even though Florida is a tropical region, dengue fever was pretty much eliminated in this state with the help of air conditioning, mosquito screenings and other mosquito control products. However, for the first time since the 1930s, dengue fever appears to have been making a comeback within these recent years.  

According to health officials within the state, more and more cases of dengue fever are popping up. Within the past week, several cases of this disease have been confirmed in Martin and St. Lucie counties. One more case was confirmed in Miami-Dade as well. Now, officials have issued an advisory warning people about these mosquito-borne diseases. They are optimistic that current methods and products can help reduce the number of cases and maintain dengue fever.

"We have better surveillance," the interim state epidemiologist at the Florida Department of Health commented according to NPR. "We believe we're picking up dengue that was occurring."

Even the amount of dengue fever cases reduced dramatically in the 1930s, starting in 2009, Florida experienced more and more cases than ever before. During that year, a dengue fever outbreak afflicted at least 28 people in Key West. Health officials had tested around 240 people. Other research shows that every year, the number of cases of dengue fever is greatly underestimated. For some cases, the virus might manifest mildly and resemble the common flu. People might not know that they were infected from dengue fever, which is diagnosed via a blood test.

Due to the recent cases, state health officials remind people that they should use mosquito repellant sprays, protective clothing and keep an eye out for these insects. 

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