Miami-Dade County

Person in Miami-Dade infected with mosquito-borne dengue, health department confirms

The Aedes aegypti mosquito is a carrier of Dengue. On Nov. 19, 2018, the Florida Health Department in Miami-Dade confirmed that a person contracted the painful virus.
The Aedes aegypti mosquito is a carrier of Dengue. On Nov. 19, 2018, the Florida Health Department in Miami-Dade confirmed that a person contracted the painful virus. AP File photo

Florida’s first case of dengue this year was confirmed in Miami-Dade on Monday, the health department reported.

A painful disease that causes high fever, severe headache, muscle and joint pain and other complications, dengue has no treatment or vaccine.

The health department would not disclose exactly where in Miami-Dade the case emerged, nor did the agency identify the infected individual or their condition. No area with active spread of dengue has been identified.

According to a release, the health department is working with Miami-Dade’s Mosquito Control and Habitat Management Division to “eliminate breeding and adult mosquito activity in the area of the confirmed case.”

“Both agencies will continue surveillance and mosquito prevention efforts,” the department said in a press release.

Like Zika and chikungunya, dengue spreads primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito. Nicknamed “breakbone fever” because of the intense pain the disease causes, dengue can also cause bleeding, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Each year, several cases are reported in Florida in people who travel to areas where dengue is present, such as the Caribbean, Central and South America and Asia.

The most recent local outbreak reported by the health department occurred in summer 2013 in Martin County, where 28 people were infected, including four who were asymptomatic. In South Florida, Monroe County has experienced the most cases of locally acquired dengue with 77 people infected in the past decade, according to the health department.

Miami-Dade has reported 21 cases during the past decade, and Broward, four cases. A 2009 outbreak of dengue in Key West showed just how easily the disease can spread. The outbreak began with 22 people infected during the summer and fall of 2009. The following year, Florida health officials reported 66 cases of locally acquired dengue fever associated with the 2009 outbreak in Key West. No cases were reported in Key West after November 2010.

The department also confirmed Monday that a mosquito carrying the West Nile Virus was found in a trap. No one was infected, the department said.

On Monday, the department stressed the importance of taking “basic precautions to help limit exposure,” including draining standing water to prevent breeding; removing tires, bottles, pots and pans that collect water; wearing long sleeves, pants, socks and shoes; and using repellents with DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, and IR3535.

For more information, visit DOH’s website at www.floridahealth.gov/%5C/diseases-and-conditions/mosquito-borne- diseases/index.html or contact your county health department.

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