Health officials in the Florida Keys are sounding the alarms about 11 new cases of the mosquito-borne dengue fever. According to officials with the Florida Department of Health, all of the infections have been in Key Largo, including a cluster of 8 cases that appeared in the last week of June.
Florida Keys spokeswoman Alison Kerr told the Miami Herald that officials are currently conducting epidemiological studies to determine the origin and extent of these infections.
Kerr noted that the most recent patient has been treated and is expected to make a full recovery.
However, other areas of Florida, like Miami-Dade County, have seen at least one case.
The disease is transmitted through the bite of the female Aedes aegypti mosquito, an invasive species that also spreads diseases like yellow fever, Zika, and chikungunya. For most patients, symptoms usually appear within 14 days of getting a mosquito bite and include fever, rash as well as severe muscle aches and pains.
An 11th case of dengue fever has been confirmed in the Florida Keys the Florida Department of Health announced yesterday
The cases have been found in Key Largo, the northernmost key 60 miles south of Miami, including 8 cases that were found there during the last week of June, pic.twitter.com/VWpLmJ494D
— Stone (@stonecold2050) July 8, 2020
Recovery generally takes about two to seven days. In a small number of cases, the disease develops into severe dengue, also known as dengue hemorrhagic fever, resulting in bleeding, low levels of blood platelets and blood plasma leakage, or into dengue shock syndrome, where dangerously low blood pressure occurs.
Treatment of acute dengue includes giving fluid either by mouth or intravenously for the mild or moderate form of the disease. For more severe cases, blood transfusion may be required. About half a million people require hospital admission every year. The earliest descriptions of an outbreak date from 1779.
Dengue has become a global problem since the Second World War and is common in more than 120 countries. About 390 million people are infected a year and approximately 40,000 die from the disease. In 2019, a significant increase in the number of cases was seen.
The Florida Keys Mosquito Control District said helicopters and trucks are going after the adult mosquitoes and their larvae. In Key Largo, where there are the most infections, health officials are going door-to-door to inspect homes and businesses in the area.
FKMCD Aerial crews busy over northern Key Largo. The helicopter is dispersing a product known as WDG which is a soil Bacteria (Bti) mixed with water. Extremely EFFECTIVE, safe larval control of the invasive Aedes Aegypti mosquito which is responsible for Dengue Fever. For more on FKMCD control methods visit: https://keysmosquito.org/control-methods/
Posted by Florida Keys Mosquito Control District on Wednesday, July 8, 2020
Residents have been asked to clear out standing water that could serve as breeding grounds for mosquitos.
Last Month, Anonymous News reported that a company called Oxitec has received an experimental use permit from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to release genetically modified mosquitos into the wild in places like Florida and Texas.
The mosquitos are likely only being deployed in Texas and Florida for now, because the company needs approval from each individual state in addition to federal EPA approval. A previously planned release in the Florida Keys of an earlier version of Oxitec’s GM mosquito was canceled in 2016 after push back from local residents about the potential dangers.
However, other regions have welcomed Oxitec with open arms, including Brazil, the Cayman Islands, Malaysia, and Panama.
For the recent public forum regarding Oxitec’s recent permit application in the US, there were 31,174 comments opposing the release of the mosquitos and only 56 in support. While the EPA promised to consider these votes during their review process, the permit still went through anyway.