Florida woman dies of dengue fever

by Dennis Mannu
healthday reporter

THURSDAY, June 10, 2021 (HealthDay News) — A Miami woman dies at age 30 from locally acquired dengue fever Highlights the need for awareness of a potentially deadly mosquito-borne virus now found in the United States.

Once only seen in hot and steamy tropical or subtropical locations, dengue is on the rise in parts of the southern United States due to global warming, travel, and other factors. While most Americans still contract the disease while traveling to parts of the world where dengue is endemic, cases of locally acquired dengue have also been reported in the United States, including a 2019 outbreak in Miami.

This can happen when a local Mosquito It feeds on a person infected with dengue and then transmits the disease to others.

spread through the bite of an infected aedes Mosquito can cause dengue high fever, rash and muscle or joint pain. In severe cases, dengue can cause potentially fatal bleeding and shock. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every year 400 million people will become infected with dengue and about 22,000 people will die from the disease.


In 2019, Florida saw 413 people diagnosed with dengue, most of whom had recently traveled to Cuba. The outbreak led to 18 locally acquired cases, including the death of a young Miami woman. To determine the source of the infection, doctors reviewed the woman’s travel history and performed genetic sequencing of the virus, which confirmed that it was acquired locally.

The basis for a letter in the June 10 issue of her story is New England Journal of Medicine. An infectious disease specialist at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, co-author Dr. As Stephen Morris said, this should serve as a cautionary tale.

“Florida is now a semi-endemic area for dengue,” he said. “We should expect this as a risk going forward, and doctors in the southern US should be aware that dengue is on the table as a potential diagnosis.”


Morris said there is no widely available vaccine to prevent dengue. To prevent infection, “use a good bug spray, cover your skin and avoid areas with a lot of water,” he said. Mosquitoes prefer to lay eggs in buckets, bowls, flower pots and vases near standing water.


Morris said screens on doors and windows can also keep mosquitoes away.

delayed diagnosis

There is no rapid test for dengue, so it can take several days to make a diagnosis, explained study co-author Tyler Sharp, an epidemiologist at the CDC’s dengue branch in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The delay in diagnosis played a part in the death of the Miami woman. “If you think it might be dengue, treat it like they have it, and if it’s negative, there’s no downside,” Sharp said.

Treatment includes hydration and close monitoring of vital signs. “Tell your doctor if you have been to an area where dengue is endemic or if someone you know has recently been diagnosed with dengue, as this may not be front of mind to many doctors,” he said. They said.

Sharp said controlling mosquitoes at the community level has been more challenging.

“We need to raise awareness and develop, evaluate, and eventually implement tools to fight dengue in South Florida and elsewhere,” he said.


Currently, ways are being explored to reduce the mosquito population. For example, as part of a controversial study, Florida released genetically modified male mosquitoes that pass on a gene that kills female offspring before they mature. female only aedes aegypti Mosquitoes can bite and spread dengue.

Until and until the mosquito population is reduced, “It is very important to be aware of dengue in Florida, Texas and Hawaii because we know that mosquitoes are vectors,” said Yasim Tozan, an assistant professor in the NYU School of Global Health. Said Global Public Health in New York City.

Fortunately, most local outbreaks in the United States are limited because mosquitoes can’t fly very far, she said.

“We need to be vigilant about fever and illness, especially when we know mosquitoes are active,” Tozan said. Mosquito season lasts from spring to fall.


“Climate change is seeing us see unpredictable rainfall and extreme weather like temperature fluctuations and mosquitoes are very sensitive to this, so suddenly we have reproductive activity when we normally don’t,” explained Tozan, who was not included in the new report.


“Be an educated traveler,” she said. “If you are coming back from areas where dengue and other mosquito-borne diseases are prevalent, share your travel history with your doctor.”

more information

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers more prevention of dengue.

SOURCES: Stephen Morris, MD, infectious disease specialist, Jackson Memorial Hospital, Miami; Tyler Sharp, PhD, epidemiologist, CDC Dengue Branch, San Juan, Puerto Rico; Yesim Tozan, PhD, assistant professor, global health, NYU School of Global Public, New York City; New England Journal of Medicine, June 10, 2021


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