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CDC warns of rise in dengue, a mosquito-borne illness, this summer

A mosquito sucking blood on skin
Posted at 4:51 PM, Jun 27, 2024

(WXYZ) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning the public of an increased risk of dengue virus infections in the United States.  

An unusually high number of cases have been reported so far, and the agency noted that these numbers are likely to continue increasing as global temperatures rise.

There have been 2,241 dengue cases reported across the U.S between January and June 24th this year. Puerto Rico is facing the worst impact from dengue fever, with 1,498 cases occurring in that U.S. territory in the Caribbean alone. Additionally, there have been 745 cases identified in U.S. travelers.

For comparison, just over 3,000 dengue cases were reported in the U.S. and its territories last year in 2023.

Dengue fever is an illness spread by the bite of mosquitoes infected with one of the four different but closely related dengue virus types. It’s most often found in tropical and subtropical climates. However, sporadic cases or small outbreaks of locally transmitted cases have also occurred in states with warmer climates such as Florida, Texas, Hawaii, Arizona and California.

The reason the numbers are rising is mostly due to increasing global temperatures, which provide perfect breeding conditions for mosquitoes that carry the disease.

About 1 in 4 people infected with dengue will experience symptoms ranging from mild to severe. The most common symptom is a high fever, along with any of the following: nausea, vomiting, rash, intense pain behind the eyes and muscle and bone and joint pain.

There is no specific treatment for dengue fever other than supportive care like fluids and rest. Pain can be treated with acetaminophen. Most people will recover in about a week, however severe disease develops in 1 in 20 people with symptoms.

Severe dengue, known as dengue hemorrhagic fever, requires immediate medical attention and hospitalization as it can be fatal. Symptoms include stomach pain, vomiting blood, blood in the stool, nose bleeds, bleeding gums and extreme fatigue.

To protect yourself from dengue, please take preventive measures against mosquito bites. This includes using EPA-registered insect repellents, wearing loose-fitting, long-sleeved tops and pants and eliminating standing water where mosquitoes breed such as in flower pots, bird baths and discarded tires.

Also, I’d like to mention that there is a dengue vaccine available in the U.S. However, it’s recommended for use in children aged 9 through 16 who have had a confirmed previous infection and live in areas where the virus is common.

If you’re planning on international travel to areas with dengue transmission, do your best to protect yourself from mosquito bites. And if you develop a fever or symptoms of dengue, please see a doctor for testing and medical advice as soon as possible.


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