Dengue Fever Just Flew into Florida

Why you should care...


Aedes aegypti is the type of mosquito that carries mosquito-born illnesses such as Dengue Fever and Zika. Aedes albopictus is the type of mosquito that is a non-carrier of these viruses in these subtropical areas. Photo courtesy of

Colby Abuhoff, Content Editor

Throughout the world, more people have been diagnosed with Dengue Fever due to the virus being more prevalent in mosquitoes in recent times.

Many schools and workplaces in places similar to Yap have been forced to be closed due to a slow outbreak of Dengue Fever. This is due to several more cases of it being both diagnosed and suspected of Dengue Fever.

Dengue Fever is a disease most common in tropical environments and is transmitted through mosquito bites. The disease can have mild effects on the body but can transform into Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever. This can lead to major effects on the body or death. “If severe, dengue fever can damage the lungs, liver or heart. Blood pressure can drop to dangerous levels, causing shock and, in some cases, death.” (
What is Dengue Fever?

What is Dengue Fever?

Dengue fever is mosquito-born and is primarily found in areas such as Southeast Asia, the western Pacific islands, the Caribbean, and Latin America. This disease is part of the Dengue family of virus which is a group of four different diseases. Each of the diseases interact with antibodies within human blood serum. Dengue Fever is primarily transferred through mosquito carriers after a mosquito bites an animal who is infected then bites another animal, spreading the disease. When diagnosed, dengue fever is often confused with several other diseases such as leptospirosis and influenza. This is due to the similarity of symptoms between them all. While these diseases are similar in effects, they are all transmitted through differing ways. The viruses are part of the Flavivirus family. Within the Dengue family, there are four different types of viruses with those being DENV-1, DENV-2, DENV-3, and DENV-4. All these forms of the Dengue family are mostly the same, causing very similar symptoms to people. The four types of Dengue Fever are each of the different types of which they can be infected with throughout their lives. Dengue Fever is a virus that infects blood vessels causing them to be leaky. The virus is diagnosed through checking blood pressure, examining skin, examining eyes, examining glands, taking chest x-rays, performing blood tests and coagulation tests.

What are the Dangers of Dengue Fever?

Dengue Fever has several effects on the body. The virus causes high body temperature of up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit, headaches, muscle pains, joint pains, bone pains, vomiting, pain behind the eyes, nausea, rash, and swollen glands. Typically, Dengue Fever is not lethal and will usually be healed within about a week with proper care. In other cases, Dengue Fever can worsen which will then cause Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever. Dengue Fever becomes Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever when blood vessels begin to leak. Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever is deadly with symptoms of severe abdominal pain, persistent vomiting, cold or clammy skin, fatigue, irritability or restlessness, difficult or rapid breathing, blood in urine, blood in stools, blood in vomit, bleeding gums, bleeding noses, and bleeding under the skin. Dengue Fever can be contracted at any age with it being most difficult to detect in children especially teens. The more times a person is diagnosed with Dengue Fever is more likely to get the virus again. While Dengue Fever is transmitted primarily through mosquitoes, the virus can also be transmitted through pregnant mothers to their children and through blood transfusions. Dengue Fever is also commonly found in older adults and those with inefficient immune systems. The most someone can be infected with this virus is four times during their life. There is no direct cure for this virus, however, there are ways for this virus to be treated. One way to treat the virus is to get plenty of rest. Another way to help cope with the virus is to take a specialized medication called acetaminophen to help deal with the virus rather than over-the-counter medicines. Also, drinking plenty of fluids can help treat the virus by helping the body stay hydrated and keeping electrolytes up.

With the virus count on the rise, many ways are needed to help prevent those from being infected with the virus. One way to help prevent being infected with this virus is to wear more protective clothing. Protective clothing, in this case, the clothing will protect those wearing it from being bitten by mosquitoes carrying the virus. Examples of these types of clothing are long-sleeved shirts, long socks, and long pants. Another way to help prevent being infected with Dengue Fever is by staying in air-conditioned and screened in environments. This is due to mosquitoes being prominent in warmer environments and at night, dawn, and dusk. Also, being aware of what locations have more mosquitoes with the possibility of being a carrier of the virus can help reduce the number of people infected. Currently, a vaccine of the virus is being worked on called Dengvaxia which is given in three doses over the course of one year. This vaccine has been tested to work most of the time on people ranging from ages nine to 45.

What is causing the Sudden Outbreak?

Recently, this virus has made its way towards American and exclusively in Florida. In Florida, several more cases of Dengue Fever have been diagnosed in the south coast such as Miami and West Palm Beach. Several factors eventually caused these mosquitoes to move towards Florida. One major cause of the sudden Dengue Fever outbreak in the United States is Deforestation. In this case, Deforestation in areas that contain large amounts of the virus have the habitats of the mosquitoes to be lost and forcing them to relocate to newer areas with similar climates. Combining this with climate change, many areas within the United States are becoming more tropical such as South Florida. With the higher prominence of mosquitoes originating from areas that commonly have the virus, more mosquitoes are moving towards the United States and causing more infections of it. Both of these lead to more breeding sites for these mosquitoes. This helps make the virus more likely need to be found in mosquitoes. Adding this to them being found more often in the United States helps create an outbreak of the virus in tropical areas.

To help against the outbreak of Dengue Fever, deforestation would have to be shortened significantly in the home regions of the virus. Less deforestation would keep the mosquito’s current environments together, reducing the spread of these mosquitos to new environments such as Florida. Being aware of climate change and trying to combat it by doing things such as using alternative, renewable sources can help decrease the effects it has on regions. The tropical areas attracting more mosquitos who can carry the disease from other areas without their habitats. Both of these would help eliminate breeding sites where the virus can be spread to more mosquitoes. Doing these would overall, help lower the amount of cases suspected and diagnosed throughout the United States.

“Symptoms of dengue can become severe within a few hours. Severe dengue is a medical emergency.” (