Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne viral disease that affects millions of people worldwide. Although it is commonly found in tropical and subtropical regions, cases of dengue fever have been reported in the United States, and the number of cases has been on the rise in recent years. In this blog post, we will discuss the basics of dengue fever, the current state of dengue in the USA, and what you can do to protect yourself from this disease.
What is Dengue Fever?
Dengue fever is caused by the dengue virus, which is transmitted to humans by the Aedes mosquito. The virus is found in tropical and subtropical regions around the world, and the Aedes mosquito that carries the virus is most active during the day. Symptoms of dengue fever include fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, rash, and in severe cases, hemorrhagic fever, which can lead to shock and even death.
Dengue in the USA
Dengue fever was first reported in the United States in the 1950s, but it wasn't until the 1980s that the disease became a significant public health concern. Since then, dengue has been reported in several states, including Florida, Hawaii, Texas, and Puerto Rico. In recent years, the number of cases of dengue fever in the United States has been on the rise.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 1,058 reported cases of dengue fever in the United States in 2019. This is a significant increase from the previous year, where there were only 342 reported cases. The majority of these cases were reported in Florida, where the Aedes mosquito is most prevalent.
Dengue Cases Increasing in the USA
The increase in the number of dengue fever cases in the United States can be attributed to several factors. One factor is climate change. As temperatures continue to rise, the Aedes mosquito that carries the virus is able to survive in areas where it previously could not. This has led to the spread of dengue fever to new regions in the United States.
Another factor is increased travel. As more people travel to regions where dengue fever is prevalent, they can bring the virus back with them to the United States. This has led to localized outbreaks of dengue fever in areas where the Aedes mosquito is present.
Finally, the lack of a vaccine or specific treatment for dengue fever makes it difficult to control the spread of the disease. The only way to prevent dengue fever is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. This can be challenging, especially in areas where the Aedes mosquito is prevalent.
What Can You Do to Protect Yourself?
If you live in an area where dengue fever is prevalent, or if you plan to travel to such an area, there are several steps you can take to protect yourself from the disease. These include:
Avoid Mosquito Bites:
The best way to prevent dengue fever is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. This can be done by wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants, using mosquito repellent, and staying indoors during peak mosquito activity hours.
Remove Standing Water:
The Aedes mosquito lays its eggs in standing water. By removing standing water around your home or workplace, you can reduce the mosquito population in your area.
Use Mosquito Nets:
If you are sleeping in an area where dengue fever is prevalent, use a mosquito net to prevent mosquitoes from biting you while you sleep.
Seek Medical Attention:
If you develop symptoms of dengue fever, seek medical attention immediately. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent the disease from progressing to a more severe form.
In conclusion, the increase in dengue fever cases in the United States is a growing concern for public health officials. The disease is transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, which are found in tropical and subtropical regions. Dengue fever can cause a range of symptoms, and in severe cases, can be life-threatening. There is currently no specific treatment for dengue fever, and prevention efforts focus on controlling the mosquito population and raising awareness of the disease. To address the growing threat of dengue fever in the United States, public health officials are taking a multi-pronged approach that includes increased surveillance, improved mosquito control measures, and public education campaigns. Continued efforts in these areas will be necessary to prevent the further spread of dengue fever in the United States.