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Dengue Fever and West Nile Virus

Updated on March 20, 2020
Pamela99 profile image

After 22 years as an RN, I now write about medical issues and new medical advances. Diet, exercise, treatment, and lifestyle are important.

Breakout of Dengue Fever Increases

In 2011, Key West suffered a breakout of Dengue Fever, which is spread by mosquitoes. This was the first breakout in the U.S. Puerto Rico is another place where Dengue Fever is a large problem. Now, Dengue Fever has hit the continental US, much of South America, Greece, many countries in southern Asia and Africa.This disease has become a world wide problem.

The mosquitoes pass the dengue fever to a person and to each other. At this point authorities state 5% of Key West residents have been affected. There is some chance that this fever will spread in the more tropical areas of the United States.

The female Aedes aegypti and the Aedes albopictus mosquitoes are the primary vectors for the spread of the fever. Biologists have actually created a mosquito killing bacteria to fight Dengue fever.

Key West literally placed thousands of mosquito traps, which covered hundreds of acres as they fought these mosquitoes. People are most susceptible to getting bit at dawn and dusk.

Female Aedes aegypti Mosquito


FDA Approved Test for Dengue Fever

The FDA announced on June 21, 2012, that the CDC has developed a new test to detect dengue fever. The test is called CDC-DENV-1-4 Real Time RT PCR Assay. This test will help diagnosis the fever within 7 days of when the symptoms first appear. All four types of dengue fever can be diagnosed utilizing this test.


Dengue fever Symptoms

Dengue fever is a viral infection that is debilitating but not usually fatal in otherwise healthy people. It can be diagnosed by a blood test. There is no vaccine to prevent Dengue fever at this time.

Once bitten it takes 6-7 days for the disease to develop. The symptoms are fevers as high as 104-105, severe headache behind the eyes, rash, swollen lymph nodes, vomiting muscle and joint pain with general malaise. The severity of the joint pain has given dengue the name "breakbone fever.” The rash appear 3-4 days after the beginning the fever. The illness may last up to 10 days but full recovery often takes a month. Children and young adults have about a 5% death rate

Dengue Fever: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

World Wide Problem

Most people get milder cases but others become severely ill. Mayo clinic states, “Dengue hemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome — can additionally cause severe bleeding, a sudden drop in blood pressure (shock) and death.” Dengue hemorrhagic fever has not been reported in Key West.

Dengue is much more of a problem elsewhere in the hemisphere, with an estimated 4.6 million cases from 2000 to 2007 in Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. It is also prevalent in Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Pacific. Dengue fever is on the rise, particularly in poor countries that are highly populated.

Ares of the World with Dengue Fever


West Nile Virus

The West Nile Virus is a disease caused by mosquitoes and expected to occur in epidemic numbers for 2012. The heavy spring rains have allowed mosquitoes to breed in record numbers and the West Nile Virus is expected to become a problem in numerous states all the way up to the north mid west states. Controlling the number of the mosquitoes appears to be the most effective way to fight this disease at the time. It is important use protection when outdoors, especially in the early morning and in the evening. Maker sure the screens on your house are without holes. I

While this disease is self-limiting, there is not cure. Scientist are working on a vaccine but at this time only the symptoms can be treated, which means analgesics, fluids and bed rest. India and Brazil are also working hard to find a cure to this awful disease.

Dengue Fever


The best thing you can do to prevent this fever if you are in one of these tropical areas is to spray yourself from head to toe with mosquito repellent before going out. Long sleeve shirts are helpful.

Of course, you want to eliminate any standing water around your house is you live in these areas, plus change water in pet dishes and bird baths frequently is important. This is also probably not the best time to visit Key West or even the southern most areas of FL, at least without your mosquito repellent.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.


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