(RxWiki News) Dengue fever might be thought of as a far-removed, tropical disease, but officials of South Texas have reported several discovered cases.
Dengue is spread through the bites of certain types of mosquitos and can cause serious illness.
Health officials in Cameron County, Texas reported that 14 cases have been discovered.
"Repair screens on doors and windows to keep bugs out."
According to The Monitor, a McAllen, Texas newspaper, the Cameron County Department of Health and Human Services issued a dengue fever advisory last week.
Dengue is common in the tropics and sub-tropics and can cause symptoms like fever, headache, pain behind the eyes, joint, muscle and bone pain and mild bleeding, reported the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It can also lead to dengue hemorrhagic fever, which if not identified and properly treated, can be fatal.
The Cameron County advisory warned residents to be cautious when outside during dusk and dawn and reported that at least 14 dengue cases have been discovered.
Cameron County, located on the very southern tip of Texas, is bordered to the south by Mexico and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico. The county includes the beach destination South Padre Island and the city of Brownsville.
Neighboring Hidalgo County, which includes the town of McAllen, has found three probable cases that have yet to be confirmed, The Monitor reported.
In an interview with The Monitor, County Health Administrator Yvette Salinas said that while some cases appear to be travel-related, or acquired outside of the area, several cases seem to have developed within the county.
According to CDC, nearly all dengue discovered in the continental US was acquired abroad. It is the local aspect of the Cameron County cases that have officials on alert.
“That is what really caught our attention," explained Salinas. "So we have been watching it more closely the last couple of weeks because some of the cases are not travel-related."
Earlier in the year, officials in southeastern Florida reported several similar locally-acquired cases.
To prevent dengue, CDC recommended emptying containers that hold standing water (a favorite mosquito breeding spot) from around the home. CDC also suggested using repellant and wearing long pants and long sleeves when appropriate.
"There is no vaccine available against dengue, and there are no specific medications to treat a dengue infection," explained CDC. "This makes prevention the most important step, and prevention means avoiding mosquito bites if you live in or travel to an endemic area."