The death of a Miami lady in her 30s from locally acquired dengue fever emphasizes the need of raising awareness about a potentially lethal mosquito-borne virus that has now been discovered in the United States.
Dengue Kills A Lady In Florida
Dengue fever, which was formerly exclusively observed in hot and humid tropical or subtropical regions, has been on the rise in portions of the southern United States as a result of global warming, travel, and other causes. When most Americans still develop dengue while traveling to dengue-endemic areas of the world, there have been occurrences of locally acquired dengue in the United States, including a 2019 epidemic in Miami.
This can happen when a local mosquito feeds on a dengue-infected individual and subsequently spreads the disease to others.
Dengue fever is caused by a bite from an infected Aedes mosquito and can produce a high temperature, rash, and muscle or joint discomfort. Dengue can cause possibly lethal hemorrhage and shock in extreme situations. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up to 400 million individuals will become infected with dengue each year, with around 22,000 deaths.
In 2019, 413 people in Florida were diagnosed with dengue fever, the majority of them having just visited Cuba. This epidemic resulted in 18 locally acquired cases, one of which ended in the death of the young Miami lady. To pinpoint the source of the illness, physicians examined the woman’s travel history and did genetic sequencing of the virus, which verified that it was acquired locally.
Her experience is the subject of a letter published in the New England Journal of Medicine on June 10th. According to co-author Dr. Stephen Morris, an infectious disease expert at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, the study should serve as a cautionary story.
According to him, Florida is now a quasi-endemic location for dengue. They should expect this to be a concern in the future, and clinicians in the southern United States should be aware that dengue is a possible diagnosis.
Morris stated that there is no widely accessible dengue vaccine. To avoid illness, he recommends using a decent insect spray, protecting the skin, and avoiding regions with a lot of standing water. Mosquitoes prefer to deposit their eggs in buckets, bowls, flower pots, and vases near standing water.
Mosquitoes may also be kept at bay by installing screens on doors and windows, according to Morris.
There is also no fast test for dengue, so a diagnosis can take several days, according to research co-author Tyler Sharp, and epidemiology at the CDC’s dengue branch in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The death of the Miami lady was caused by a delay in diagnosis. If they suspect dengue, they should treat it as if they had it, and if the test comes out negative, there is no harm done, according to Sharp.
Hydration and regular monitoring of vital signs are part of the treatment. Telling the doctor if they have traveled to a region where dengue is endemic or if someone they know has just been diagnosed with dengue since it may not be on many doctors’ minds, he added.
Sharp stated that controlling mosquitoes at the neighborhood level has been more difficult.
They must increase awareness as well as create, assess, and eventually apply strategies to combat dengue in South Florida and abroad, he added.
There are now methods being investigated for lowering the mosquito population. Florida, for example, released genetically engineered male mosquitos that pass on a trait that kills female progeny before they mature as part of a contentious study. Female Aedes aegypti mosquitos are the only ones that can bite and spread dengue.
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