Miami Reports Locally Acquired Dengue Case


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News this afternoon from the Miami-Dade Health Department on the detection of 2012’s first locally acquired case of Dengue fever in the state of Florida.

First some excerpts from the press release, and then I’ll return with more.


September 27, 2012

First Locally Acquired Case of Dengue Fever in Miami-Dade County

(Miami, FL – September 27, 2012) – Miami-Dade County Health Department officials received confirmation of the first locally acquired case of Dengue Fever in Miami-Dade County.


The individual was diagnosed with Dengue Fever based on symptoms and confirmed by laboratory tests. The individual fully recovered from this illness.


Dengue Fever is a viral disease transmitted by a type of mosquito common to the southeastern United States and the tropics. It is not spread from person to person. The symptoms of Dengue Fever include, fever (over 101 degrees Fahrenheit), severe headache, severe pain behind the eyes, muscle, joint and bone pain, rash, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting. There is no specific medication or vaccine for Dengue Fever. If you are experiencing symptoms consistent with Dengue Fever, please call your healthcare provider to see if you need to be seen.

(Continue . . . )


When Dengue fever returned to the state of Florida in 2009 - after an absence of 70 years - (see Dengue Resurfaces In Key West), it wasn’t an entirely unexpected event.


The virus was likely reintroduced to the area by an infected traveler or visitor who was bitten by a local mosquito, and that mosquito went on to bite others.


Like many viral infections (influenza, West Nile, etc), not everyone who is infected experiences symptoms. And with Dengue, it is often the second or third infection (there are 4 sub-types) that proves the most serious.


The 2010 MMWR report  Locally Acquired Dengue --- Key West, Florida, 2009—2010 described South Florida’s vulnerability this way:


The environmental and social conditions for dengue transmission have long been present in south Florida: the potential for introduction of virus from returning travelers and visitors, the abundant presence of a competent mosquito vector, a largely nonimmune population, and sufficient opportunity for mosquitoes to bite humans.


There were 28 cases reported in 2009, and the state of Florida’s Weekly Data for Arbovirus Surveillance lists 63 locally-acquired cases in Key West, one in Broward County, and one in Miami-Dade County for 2010.

The following year, 2011, saw a significant reduction in cases with just three locally acquired in Miami-Dade County, two in Palm Beach County, and one each in Martin and Hillsborough counties.


While the most recent state surveillance report shows 67 cases of imported dengue in individuals with recent travel history to dengue endemic regions, today’s announcement is the first locally acquired case of the year.


In order to spread, Dengue requires the right mosquito vector.  And the two species best suited to transmit the virus are the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes, which also can spread such diseases as West Nile, Malaria, Yellow Fever, and Chikungunya.



Map showing the distribution of dengue fever (red) and the distribution of the Aedes aegypti mosquito (cyan)  in the world, as of 2006. – Credit Agricultural Research Service of the US Department of Agriculture.



Map showing the native habitat (blue) and recent spread (green) of the Aedes albopictus mosquito. --Credit Wikipedia


According to a 2009 report, as many as 28 states in the US have at least one of the these mosquito vectors, a factoid that has some epidemiologists worried that Dengue, Chikungunya, and Malaria could one day become threats in the United States.


With only one locally-acquired dengue case in Florida this year, it’s pretty obvious the virus has not managed to get a solid foothold in the state. Each year, however - more travelers arrive carrying the virus - and that gives the virus another opportunity to take up residence.


Right now, Dengue is a minor threat in Florida, but when you add Dengue to the other mosquito-borne illnesses (EEE, WNV, SLEV) it just makes sense to do whatever you can to limit your exposure.

Which is why the State Health Department urges residents and visitors to follow the `5 D’s’:




For an extensive list of my blogs on Dengue and Mosquito Borne Diseases you can select the DENGUE Quick Search here,  or on my sidebar.

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