Two additional cases of dengue fever in the Upper Keys area were reported to the Florida Health Department of Health in Monroe County on July 17, bringing the total confirmed cases to 16.
All indications of the recent infections show that they were locally acquired. Health officials say the individuals have received medical treatment and are expected to make a full recovery. Cases continue to increase, however, from July 11 when the health department reported three new cases to bring the number to 14. The outbreak began in mid-June.
The health department and Florida Keys Mosquito Control District are working closely on surveillance and prevention efforts. Mosquito control is assisting with the investigations and has intensified its mitigation activities in the Key Largo area.
The health department and the Division of Disease Control and Health Protection are conducting epidemiological studies to determine the origin and extent of these infections. Florida Keys Mosquito Control District continues to use the Key Largo School property as a landing and loading zone as part of the agency’s enhanced response.
“FKMCD has been extremely active between MM 98 and 106.5,” said Chad Huff, public information officer for FKMCD.
Dengue can present severe flu-like illness with severe muscle aches and pain, fever and sometimes a rash. Usually, there are no respiratory symptoms. Dengue symptoms appear within 14 days of being bitten by an infected mosquito. Dengue fever is not contagious but is transmitted by the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito — the most common container-breeding mosquito in the Florida Keys.
Commonly associated with people and homes, the Aedes aegypti is found breeding in artificial containers like trash cans, flower pots, buckets, coolers, children’s toys and birdbaths. The best way to eliminate the mosquito is to dump water around your home and eliminate places for water to collect after a rain event.
The emergence of these dengue cases reinforces the importance for the public to prevent insect bites and to take basic precautions to help limit exposure. These measures include intact windows and screens and the use of air conditioning, wearing protective clothing and the appropriate use of insect repellents.