Aedes aegypti: Dengue fever is not contagious, but it is transmitted by the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito — one of the most common container-breeding mosquitoes in the Keys. CONTRIBUTED

Five additional cases of dengue were confirmed on Aug. 10 and three more on Aug. 13, bringing the total number infected to more than 40 since the outbreak began in mid-June, when a mosquito-borne illness advisory went into effect on June 19. 

At that time, there were just two confirmed cases of dengue. Forty-five cases have been confirmed to the Florida Health Department since then. 

As health officials continue to assess the outbreak, the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District continues its intense mosquito control activities from Key Largo to Tavernier. The spraying continues while staff goes door-to-door to check for standing water — a prime breeding spot for mosquitoes that carry the disease. 

FKMCD inspectors from across the Keys are converging on Key Largo and canvassing areas where dengue has been reported. Chad Huff, public information officer with FKMCD, said these inspectors work tirelessly as they go house-to-house talking to property owners and helping them eliminate and treat potential and current breeding sites for mosquitoes.

“In addition, FKMCD aerial crews are flying numerous missions via helicopter over Key Largo as needed to apply both larvicide and adulticide products,” he said. “Over the course of the last several weeks, two of those weekly missions originate at Key Largo school which is being utilized as a temporary landing zone so our crews can refill the helicopter with liquid larvicide and return to the air quickly and maximize their time over the target.”

On the ground, truck missions to kill adult mosquitoes in the target area are being conducted as necessary. The location of spray missions is dictated by observations made by mosquito surveillance. 

Dengue is spread by the bite of the female Aedes aegypti mosquito. This is very much an urban mosquito that thrives in populated areas and breeds in containers that hold water. Eliminate water filled containers and you eliminate the threat.

FKMCD is also using public relations to combat the outbreak. Residents can help in the effort and protect themselves from dengue by: avoiding mosquitoes and mosquito bites; walk around their property and dump any standing water; cover or turn over anything that might catch and hold water during a rain; wear long sleeves and pants if you are going to be outside; check all screens and keep doors closed; and use insect repellent if you are going to be outside.

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