An epidemic of dengue fever in the Caribbean and Latin America has increased the risk of an outbreak of the sometimes deadly mosquito-borne virus in South Florida.

Florida 07/27/10 the dailyherald.com: Miami – An epidemic of dengue fever in the Caribbean and Latin America has increased the risk of an outbreak of the sometimes deadly mosquito-borne virus in South Florida, a bioclimatologist and dengue expert said last month.  Florida’s proximity to affected countries, the flow of people from there and similar tropical climate factors raised the probability of the disease afflicting the southern state after an absence of decades, Dr. Douglas Fuller told Reuters.  “I think the risk is substantial … In terms of the basic ingredients, you’ve got everything that you would need for an epidemic,” he said in a phone interview.  “I think we’re on the doorstep,” added Fuller, who is chair of the Geography and Regional Studies department of the University of Miami’s College of Arts and Sciences.  Dengue, also known as “breakbone fever,” causes flu-like symptoms such as fever, headaches and muscle and joint pains. It can also take on a hemorrhagic form, causing sudden death through internal bleeding and bleeding from body orifices. Companies are working on a vaccine, but there is no effective drug to treat it.  Some 17,000 cases of dengue have been reported this year across the Caribbean through early June, according to the Pan American Health Organization, with deaths being reported in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Trinidad and Tobago. In Central America, local health authorities have reported more than 50,000 dengue cases so far this year, and more than 40 deaths, prompting authorities in Honduras and other countries to launch mosquito fumigation campaigns.  “You’ve got this epidemic in Latin America and the Caribbean that just keeps getting worse, and that’s where we have the biggest exchange (of people) coming to South Florida … not just tourists, but business people, people visiting their families, immigrants,” Fuller said.  Earlier this month, government researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 5 percent of the population of Key West, Florida–more than 1,000 people–had been infected at some point with the dengue virus, based on a random blood test survey.  And they expressed concern about the virus gaining a foothold in Key West, from where it could travel to cities like Miami. That would represent the re-emergence of dengue fever in Florida and elsewhere in the United States after a 75-year absence.

Advertisements

3 responses to “An epidemic of dengue fever in the Caribbean and Latin America has increased the risk of an outbreak of the sometimes deadly mosquito-borne virus in South Florida.

  1. What I really like about this post is the map at the top, showing the counties with suscepted (imported) cases as well as the counties where Aedes aegypti/albopictus has been found. I didn’t find the same map at the Daily Herald source site. What is the sources of this map? Could you please send me the URL? The county-by-county presence/absence information on the vectors is a unique and very useful information.

    Thank you very much

    Krisztian Magori

  2. Thank you very much for your investigation!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s