Recent outbreak in Key West is the first in 50 yrs.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida mosquito researchers are watching with a wary eye as dengue virus returns to the state after more than 50 years.
By late last week, 20 cases of locally transmitted dengue had been confirmed in Key West. Monroe County officials have issued a health alert and launched an education campaign urging residents to eliminate water sources in and around their homes where mosquitoes can breed.
“We haven’t seen dengue in Florida in a long time, but this does give us evidence that we can have it again,” said Roxanne Connelly, an associate professor of medical entomology with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
Dengue fever, also known as break-bone fever or bonecrusher disease, is a rarely fatal but widespread disease transmitted to humans via the bite of an infected mosquito. There are an estimated 100 million cases of dengue worldwide each year.