Health officials in Miami-Dade County announced two more locally transmitted cases of dengue fever at the end of the year. This brought the total number of local cases to 14.
The announcement came about a month after the last warning from the county and represents an uptick in reported cases of the mosquito-borne tropical disease. The disease continues to spread rapidly through Latin America, raising concerns that the number of cases in Miami will continue to rise.
The Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County said the latest two cases are geographically linked to a travel-related case, but the department did not release any additional details.
What are the Symptoms of Dengue
Common symptoms of dengue include fever and one or more of the following: headache; eye pain; muscle, joint or bone pain; rash; nausea and vomiting; or unusual bleeding such as nose and gum bleeds.
The disease is spread through the bite of an Aedes aegypti mosquito, the same insect that also spreads the chikungunya and Zika viruses.
Carlos Espinal, director of the Global Health Consortium at the Robert Stempel College of Public Health at Florida International University, said last month that the Dengue virus is “out of proportion,” concentrated mostly in Brazil, El Salvador, Honduras, Belize, Colombia and Nicaragua. Espinal added that there is a lack of reliable information currently coming out of Venezuela.
“At this point, the general consensus is we are facing a very serious epidemic of dengue in the region at the moment,” Espinal said. “We are very close to Christmas time, and you know how people in Latin America travel a lot back to their countries of origin, where we have this epidemic.”
Miami-Dade has had the most cases of locally transmitted dengue in Florida by far in 2019, with only Broward and Hillsborough reporting other cases. They only reported one in each county, according to the latest update from the Florida Department of Health, released mid-December.
Reports of international travel-associated cases were concentrated in travelers from Cuba, with 234 cases, according to the state health department. Travelers from the Dominican Republic represented the second-highest total, with 26 cases, the report said.
Espinal tied the surging rate of dengue virus infection to global climate change. Research has shown that global warming has allowed mosquitoes, as well as other disease-bearing insects, to proliferate by adapting to different seasons and migrating to warmer areas.
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