Dengue Fever Alert Issued in Florida Keys: Health Officials on High Alert

Dengue Fever Alert Issued in Florida Keys: Health Officials on High Alert

A dengue fever alert has been issued in Florida

A dengue fever alert has been issued in the Florida Keys following two confirmed cases of the mosquito-borne illness. This local warning comes shortly after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a national advisory about the increased risk of dengue virus infections in the United States.

Key Takeaways

  • Two locally acquired cases of dengue fever have been confirmed in the Florida Keys.

  • The CDC has issued a national advisory about the increased risk of dengue infections.

  • Health officials are intensifying mosquito control measures in affected areas.

Local Cases and National Advisory

The Florida Department of Health in Monroe County confirmed that the two dengue cases in the Florida Keys were locally acquired, meaning the infections were not associated with travel. This prompted local health officials to issue an alert, emphasizing the need for heightened awareness and preventive measures.

The CDC’s national advisory highlights the increased risk of dengue virus infections across the United States. So far this year, 2,241 dengue cases have been reported in the U.S., including 1,498 cases in Puerto Rico, where a public health emergency was declared in March.

Global Surge in Dengue Cases

Dengue fever cases have surged globally, with more than 9.7 million cases reported in 2024, double the number from 2023. The rise in cases is attributed to increasingly hot temperatures, which create ideal conditions for mosquitoes to breed and spread the virus.

Symptoms and Severity

About 1 in 4 people infected with the dengue virus will develop symptoms, which can range from mild to severe. Common symptoms include:

  • Fever

  • Headache

  • Eye pain

  • Muscle, joint, or bone pain

  • Rash

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Unusual bleeding from the nose or gums

Most patients recover within a week, but about 1 in 20 cases can develop severe dengue, which may result in shock, internal bleeding, and even death. Those who have had dengue before are more likely to develop severe symptoms.

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Preventive Measures

Health officials recommend several preventive measures to reduce the risk of dengue infection:

  • Drain water from containers like garbage cans, house gutters, buckets, and pool covers.

  • Discard old tires, bottles, cans, and other items that can collect water.

  • Empty and clean birdbaths and pet water bowls at least once a week.

  • Protect boats and vehicles with tarps that do not accumulate water.

  • Maintain swimming pools in good condition and appropriately chlorinated.

  • Use insect repellent and wear long sleeves and pants when outdoors.

Local Response and Public Awareness

The Florida Keys Mosquito Control District has activated its mosquito-borne disease response plan, intensifying mosquito control operations in Key Largo and Upper Matecumbe Key. Measures include door-to-door mosquito inspections, aerial and truck-mounted mosquito spraying, and increased trapping and monitoring of mosquito populations.

Public awareness is crucial in combating mosquito-borne diseases. Residents are encouraged to eliminate standing water, use mosquito repellents, and ensure that doors and windows are properly screened.

Health officials urge anyone experiencing symptoms of dengue fever to seek medical attention promptly. Avoid taking aspirin or ibuprofen, and use acetaminophen (Tylenol) for pain relief.

The situation remains under close watch as health officials continue their efforts to control the spread of dengue fever in the Florida Keys and beyond.

Sources

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