An Arizona resident recently contracted the mosquito-borne disease known as dengue fever, and dengue virus has been detected in mosquitoes in the region. Dengue fever, normally associated with tropical countries, could be spreading to Arizona for the first time.
This isn’t the first time dengue has appeared in the United States, but we don’t typically get local transmission of the disease in the contiguous 48 states. Florida had at least three local cases of dengue fever this yearand has seen several local outbreaks in recent years, the largest being 66 cases in 2010. (Before 2009, there had been no cases since 1934, Outbreak News Today reports.) Dengue fever is common in several U.S. territories, including Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
So how important is dengue fever and what do you need to know about it? Let’s look at the facts.
How bad is the denFord?
About 75% of people infected with dengue have no noticeable symptoms. Statistically25% will fall ill, 5% will contract severe dengue and 0.01% will die.
It should be noted that you are more likely to get severe dengue fever if you have had dengue fever before. There are four types of dengue virus, so in theory you can catch it four times in your lifetime. But if you’ve had one type and then got another, that second infection carries a higher risk than the first of progressing to severe dengue.
Symptoms of a common dengue fever infection may include nausea, vomiting, rash, or muscle or joint pain. There may be a feeling of pain behind the eyes. The disease usually lasts between two and seven days. During this time, according to the CDC, you should rest and you can take acetaminophen (Tylenol), but not aspirin or ibuprofen.
Severe Dengue Symptoms may include stomach pain or tenderness, bleeding from the nose or gums, blood in vomit or stool, vomiting more than three times in 24 hours, or feeling unusually tired or irritable. If you have these signs, see a doctor right away.
How is dengue fever spread?
Dengue fever is caused by a virus, and this virus is transmitted by mosquitoes. However, not all mosquitoes can transmit it. It requires Aedes Egyptian Where Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. These mosquitoes bite day and night and can breed in small containers of standing water. Both species are more common in the southern United States than in the northern regions.
(The small brown mosquitoes that live in more northern regions and bite more often at night are Culex mosquitoes, which do not transmit dengue fever. They can transmit west nile virusyet.)
For a mosquito to give you dengue, it would have to bite someone who has dengue and then bite you later. If this occurs in a given area, it is considered local dengue transmission. People can contract dengue while traveling and then bring it home, accounting for most dengue cases in the continental United States
How to avoid getting dengue fever
The main way to protect yourself against dengue fever is to protect yourself from mosquito bites, and you can also help protect your community by making sure mosquitoes have no places to breed.
Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. This can include items like trash cans and tires that fill with rainwater, water sources like dog bowls and birdbaths, and puddles that form on the ground or in tarps. Empty these items regularly if you can’t stop them from filling up in the first place. (For example, if your dog has an outdoor water bowl, be sure to empty it twice a week.)
To protect against bites, the CDC recommended use effective insect repellent (such as insect repellent containing DEET), wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants if possible, and use mosquito nets to keep mosquitoes out of the house.
There is a vaccine against dengue which is currently approved for children aged 9 to 16 who live in areas where dengue is common. It is not approved for people who only travel to these places.