News that Florida now has eight cases of dengue fever may have you reaching for the Deet- and that’s never a bad idea. But the Florida Department of Health says the only people who need to be concerned are those in the infected areas.
Florida usually sees just one or two cases of Dengue every couple of years. So to have 8 cases pop up around the same time is unusual.
The last big outbreak was in the Keys in 2009-2010, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 28 cases. Before that, you have to go back to 1934 to identify an outbreak.
Florida Department of Health Interim Epidemiologist Carina Blackmore says the mosquito that carries dengue isn’t a strong flier and modern mosquito control tends to keep these cases localized.
“So the people are risk are the ones located very close by to the people who have dengue, so the outbreak in this case, in St. Lucie and Martin county is very focal", Blackmore said.
Seven of the state’s cases are in Martin and St. Lucie county, the eighth case is in the Miami area.
The World Health Organization says Dengue kills about 12,000 people each year. Your best protection is to eliminate standing water around your house, wear long sleeves and long pants and use an effective mosquito repellent.