Monday, June 21, 2010

Dengue Fever in Florida (in the US?)

An outbreak in Key West, Fla., has re-emerged in April 2010. Historically, dengue was in Florida in the early 1900, but locally-acquired cases had not been confirmed since then until August 2009.  The recent Florida outbreak might have gone unnoticed if it hadn't been for an astute physician in upstate New York who identified the first case in Rochester, N.Y., involving a patient who had just returned from a week-long visit to Key West.

In the US, dengue fever has rarely been an issue outside of the Texas-Mexico border region, but currently it is estimated that more than half of the US population live in places which contain one or both of mosquito species capable of transmitting the dengue fever virus creating conditions more favorable for an outbreak.  Dengue is now [starting last year] a reportable disease in the US due to its increasing threat.

Dengue fever is characterized by agonizing aching in the bones, joints and muscles, a pounding headache, pain behind the eyes, a high fever and a classic rash. There is no cure or vaccine, only preventative and supportive care. 

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