Dengue fever has returned to Florida.
A bunch of confirmed cases of the mosquito-borne illness have popped up over the past week in Martin and St. Lucie counties. After a case was reported in Miami-Dade, a public health alert was issued.
Dengue fever is a tropical disease, and was actually quite common in Florida until the 1930s. The illness was ameliorated after air conditioning, window screens and mosquito control improved. Until 2009, there wasn’t a single report of the virus in the United States since 1934.
Several cases have popped up in recent years, with some experts attributing it to climate change.
Symtoms of the illness include fever, headache, muscle and joint pains and a rash comparable to measles. There is no vaccine for the disease, though cases are very rarely fatal. It’s one of those unpleasant illnesses that just has to run its course through your system.
However, there are ways that you can safeguard yourself from infection.
According to Mayo Clinic, staying in air-conditioned or well-screened housing is important to prevent mosquito bites. Rescheduling outdoor activities to avoid dawn, dusk and early evening is also helpful. Protective clothing and mosquito repellent are advised.
You can also make moves to reduce the mosquito habitat. Mosquitos breed in standing water and sometimes collect in things like used automobile tires. Reduce these habitats and you have a better chance at preventing infection.
You can only become infected by a mosquito carrying Dengue fever, and it is not passed person to person except for in rare cases of blood transfusion or organ transplant.