Florida DOH encourages mosquito safety after recent dengue outbreak

The Florida Department of Health announced on August 27 that a dengue virus outbreak has occurred in two counties; health officials are advising Floridians to "drain and cover" to keep safe.

Florida health officials recently began a campaign to increase awareness on how to avoid being bit by mosquitoes. Officials ask that the public drain standing water, cover exposed skin during peak mosquito hours and keep screens in front of windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of residential homes.

"Floridians are urged to take precautions against mosquito-borne illnesses," Interim Deputy Secretary for Health and Deputy State Health Officer for Children's Medical Services Dr. Celeste Philip said. "People can take simple steps to protect themselves, like dumping standing water, wearing protective clothing and using repellent when outside."

The dengue virus is only contracted from infected mosquitoes. The Florida DOH has reported eight cases of dengue fever to date; seven cases from Martin County and one case in Miami-Dade County.

None of the infected persons reported recent international travel. The Florida DOH said the outbreak is likely caused by local mosquitoes.

The symptoms of dengue fever include high fever, severe headache, bone pain, joint pain and rash. Some people who are infected with the dengue fever virus do not experience symptoms. Any person who believes he or she may be infected is encouraged to see a health provider immediately.