(RxWiki News) Dengue fever is an illness spread through mosquito bites. Although the illness is common in certain regions of the world, it is a rare occurrence on US soil.
Despite the rarity, local health officials are reporting that three cases of dengue fever have been discovered in southeastern Florida.
Authorities are urging residents to be aware and take action to prevent mosquito bites.
"Drain standing water from areas around your home."
According to a release from the Florida Department of Health (FDOH), the three cases were discovered in Martin and St. Lucie Counties.
"The residents had no history of recent international travel, so the exposure was likely to be from local mosquitoes," FDOH reported.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), dengue causes as many as 100 million infections around the world each year, mostly in the tropics and sub-tropics.
However, the CDC reported that in the US, "Nearly all dengue cases reported in the 48 continental states were acquired elsewhere by travelers or immigrants."
According to the FDOH, one other dengue case was discovered in Martin County during August 2011.
"Though some people may experience little to no symptoms, the most common symptoms of dengue include high fever, severe headache, joint and bone pain and rash," said Karlette Peck, Health Officer for the Martin County Health Department, in the FDOH press statement. "People who have symptoms of dengue should contact their health provider immediately."
According to the CDC, dengue fever usually goes away with treatment that you might use to treat another fever: pain relievers with acetaminophen, rest, lots of fluids and a doctor's care.
A severe form of dengue, called dengue hemorrhagic fever, can sometimes occur. In these cases, early diagnosis and professional treatment is required. CDC says that this form of dengue can be fatal if unrecognized or not treated quickly enough. But under proper medical care, it is fatal in less than 1 percent of cases.
FDOH urged residents to take action by draining standing water, a favorite breeding ground of mosquitos, to help prevent the mosquitos from multiplying.
FDOH suggested a variety of steps to take, including discarding old items that may collect water and emptying and cleaning birdbaths and pet's water bowls at least once a week.
The officials are taking action to protect residents too. "Mosquito Control in Martin and St. Lucie Counties have begun inspecting and treating properties in the affected areas," FDOH reported.