Miami is on red alert after 11th person catches the mosquito-borne dengue fever as officials urge people to wear long sleeves to avoid being bitten
- Residents being urged to wear long sleeves outside and spray insect repellent
- Also told to drain water from yards as mosquitoes like to breed in stagnant pools
- The Florida Department of Health said Thursday none of 11 cases were related
Miami is on high alert for dengue fever after an eleventh person in the city caught the mosquito-borne illness.
Residents are being urged to protect themselves from the insects by wearing long sleeves when outdoors and spraying insect repellent.
Officials also advised draining water from their yards and turning over anything holding water such as buckets and plant pots, where mosquitoes like to breed.
Miami-Dade County officials have issued a high risk health alert after an eleventh person contracted dengue fever (file)
The Florida Department of Health said none of the cases were related following the outbreak in March, CBS reports.
The case of the eleventh patient, whose identity hasn’t been released, was recorded by officials in Miami-Dade County.
Dengue fever is caused by the dengue virus, which is transmitted by infected Aedes aegypti mosquitoes.
Aedes aegypti thrives in tropical climates and breed in stagnant pools of water.
Dr William Petrie, of Miami-Dade’s Mosquito Control, said: ‘It bites during the day, whereas most mosquitos coming out at night. It only breeds around humans.
‘It doesn’t breed in the bush or in trees or in the Everglades, it only breeds around human habitation. And it only bites humans.’
Most people experience few to no symptoms but those who develop symptoms can suffer from muscle or joint pain, headache, a high fever, nausea and vomiting.
According to the World Health Organization, if the infection progresses to be ‘severe dengue,’ it can be life-threatening.
There is no treatment or vaccine for dengue virus and most symptoms resolve after a week.
According to the Florida Department of Health, the dengue virus was eliminated from the US decades ago.
However, a number of cases are reported each year, mainly by those who travel to dengue-endemic countries.
A report released in August by the Pan American Health Organization states that the number of dengue fever cases is rising in the Americas.
Between North, Central and South America, more than two million cases have been reported this year, resulting in 723 deaths.
Experts say the exact cause of the spike isn’t clear but attribute it to a mix of climate change and urbanization.
One study from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine says warmer and wetter weather coupled with human population shifts toward tropical areas as the global population rises will put greater numbers of people at risk for dengue fever.
WHAT IS DENGUE FEVER?
Dengue is a viral infection spread by mosquitoes.
It is caught by people visiting or living in Asia, the Caribbean, and North, South or Central America.
Mosquitoes in the UK do not spread the virus.
In most cases, the infection is mild and passes in around a week.
Symptoms usually include:
- Severe headache
- Pain behind the eyes
- Muscle and joint pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Widespread rash
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite
There is no cure or specific treatment.
Patients can relieve their symptoms via painkillers, staying hydrated and resting.
In rare cases, dengue symptoms can develop into severe dengue.
Elderly patients, or those with other medical conditions, are most at risk.
Severe dengue fever symptoms can include:
- Severe skin bleeding with spots of blood on and under the skin
- Blood in the urine and stools
- Respiratory distress – when the lungs cannot provide the vital organs with enough oxygen
- Organ failure
- Changes in mental state and unconsciousness
- Dangerously low blood pressure
Severe dengue is usually treated via a blood and platelet transfusion, IV fluids for rehydration and oxygen therapy if levels are low.