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Dengue Fever: Florida Man Contracts Infectious Tropical Disease

By Michael Mullins   |   Tuesday, 27 Aug 2013 07:27 AM

Dengue fever has returned to Florida as an 18-year-old Miami-Dade County man who contracted the infectious tropical disease has already made a full recovery.

The first case of dengue fever in some time was diagnosed in Miami-Dade County and confirmed by the Florida Department of Health on Friday, Fox News Latino reported.

In 2009 there was a dengue fever outbreak in Key West where 28 people were sickened by the illness, National Public Radio reported.

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Transmitted by mosquitoes, dengue fever can be deadly if not treated.

"As long as the mosquito is present, we are at risk of having more cases of dengue," Dr. Alvaro Mejia-Echeverry of the Florida Health Department said, Fox News reported.

Symptoms, which appear between three and 14 days from when the infected mosquito bites a person, include:

• Severe headache

• Muscle and joint pain

• Nausea

• Loss of appetite

• Fever

Though rarely fatal, if contracted dengue fever can be excruciating for the victim, who should seek medical attention immediately if exhibiting any of the symptoms.

In order to limit chances of contracting the potentially debilitating illness, residents have been instructed by Florida's Department of Health to reduce their time outdoors, use insect repellent, and drain water from trash cans, gutters, pool covers or any other area where water can collect. Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water.

The Worldwide Health Organization (WHO) estimates that there may be 50 to 100 million dengue fever infections worldwide every year.

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Prior to 1970 just nine countries had reported cases of dengue fever infections according to the WHO. Now there are more than 100 countries that have reported cases of dengue fever, nearly exclusively in the tropics, primarily in Africa, South-east Asia, the Western Pacific and the southern part of the America's.

Until the 1930s, dengue fever was commonplace in Florida, NPR reported; however, the number of cases has severely dropped with the onset of air conditioning, window screens and better mosquito controls being put in place to disrupt the insect's breeding cycle.

Related stories:

Honduras Declares Emergency After Dengue Fever Kills 16, Sickens 12,000

Gene-Altered Mosquitoes Could Be Used to Fight Dengue Fever

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