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Old 11-20-2010, 08:03 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Dengue fever back in the Southeast US?

Talking with my mom earlier today about an upcoming trip to Key West, she warned me to watch out for mosquitoes there as they carry Dengue fever.

I laughed it off after the fact, chalking it up to her customary mother-trained-as-registered-nurse concerns, but then I saw this:

NY Times: Dengue Fever? What About It, Key West Says

Quote:
Without a doubt, there is dengue in Key West, though at 27 known cases last year and 18 so far this year, it is hardly what most people would call an epidemic. But those cases are the first outbreak in Florida since 1934, and some medical experts fear that the disease, once rampant on the Eastern Seaboard, could take hold again.

...

People are worried about being stigmatized, especially those with businesses. A restaurant owner who was infected a year ago agreed to be interviewed only if his name was not published, because he thought fear of the disease might keep customers away, even though the virus is not spread by food or personal contact. He said he had had a mild flulike illness for about five days.

He had no idea it was dengue until health workers asked him to be tested. Then they urged him to avoid being exposed again, because there are four different strains, and people who have had one strain and later contract another can develop a dangerous form of the disease that can cause hemorrhaging and even death.
Grounds for legitimate concern, or trumped up reports meant to stir up fear? Regardless, maybe we'll bring along some OFF after all.
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Old 11-20-2010, 09:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Hearing accounts of a friend who has had dengue fever, I'm not even willing to take a chance. I'd rather be overly cautious than go through something as horrible as what was described to me.
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Old 11-20-2010, 10:01 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Location: Rarely, if ever, here or there, but always in transition
I've been listening to this one adspot for the past 3+ years that speaks about Dengue fever, and it was sort of offputting to hear it constantly played as though this is a serious medical issue in the Mid-Atlantic and/or Midwest regions (chalk this up to "N. America as a whole does not have to worry about such a far-and-away rare disease").

I know what the affliction is, and how it can render one nearly immobile for months on end, with blistering fevers on-and-off. If I'm correct, it's called the "bone-break" disease, or some other layman's derivative, for that's how it affects your body: it makes you feel as though your inner bones are actually throbbing in pain.

I wouldn't be surprised if a lesser strain of Dengue were to be found in the Florida isles, as this wouldn't be the first time it's occurred; and the disease is most often found near the Equator, on islands such as Tahiti, the Philippines Haiti, as well as in spots in Africa and India . But an "outbreak", or any real cause for concern about it, as a once-native Floridian myself, I wouldn't give it another thought honestly. Actually, I've always had what is known as sweet blood, and I get attacked by mosquitoes and various flies mercilessly, and this illness is most easily communicable via infected insects, so... there's my second-thought cause of doubt.
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Old 12-03-2010, 07:16 PM   #4 (permalink)
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There is dengue throughout the tropics. The Keys are very nearly tropical although I am not sure if this is technically true and I am too lazy to look it up. There have been rare cases in Hawaii even though it is the most geographically isolated archipelligo on earth. Most cases are relatively mild and are probably passed off as a "viral syndrome." However severe cases do occur. The fact that there have been 27 cases a year would not keep me from Key West, or anywhere else for that matter. It would make me use DEET while I was there.
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Old 12-03-2010, 08:03 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Location: Florida
I wouldn't worry about it too much. Plus, if your trip is in the next few months, you have missed the bug season.

It was a light season this year for mosquitoes overall, now that I think about it. I can't remember getting a single bite all year.

(I am in SW Florida about 3 hrs from Key West, for reference)
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