Dengue fever in Key West, could spread north - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Dengue fever in Key West, could spread north

By Juan Carlos Fanjul - bio | email

(WFLX)--West Palm Beach resident Donna Ross lived in the Caribbean island nation of St. John in the 1990's when she was bitten by a mosquito that carried a virus.

"We did not know what it was. Every joint in our body ached, fingers, toes, every joint. It was very painful," said Ross.

Turns out she had Dengue fever, the most common virus transmitted by mosquitoes in the world.

It's mostly found in developing countries.

Now, the CDC says An estimated 5 percent of the Key West population-- about 1,000 people-- has been exposed to the dengue virus.

39 people have actually come down with it.

There hasn't been an outbreak in Florida since 1934.

The CDC is concerned if the Dengue gets a foothold in Key West that it could easily spread through Miami and points north.

Symptoms include chills, headache, and pain when moving the eyes, a low backache as well as painful aching in the legs and joints.

"There is a special form of Dengue, Dengue Hemorrhagic fever where it causes the blood not to clot and you can bleed to death. That happens rarely," says infectious disease specialist Dr. David Dodson.

A Palm Beach County Health Department spokesman says they've been on the look out for Dengue Fever for several years.

They say it can't be tracked by sentinel chickens. Instead, health officials have been calling doctors all over the county.

So far, no cases have been reported here.


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