TREASURE COAST, Fla. - Residents of Martin and St. Lucie counties are being urged to take precautionary measures against mosquito-borne illness after three cases of locally acquired dengue fever were confirmed in those counties, according to the Florida Department of Health in Martin County.
The affected individuals had no history of recent international travel. An investigation conducted by the health department in Martin and St. Lucie counties concluded that exposure may have come from local mosquitoes in the Rio neighborhood near Jensen Beach.
Dengue Fever is transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito. Two types of mosquitoes - Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus - are known transmitters of the dengue viruses and are found in large number in Martin and St. Lucie counties, health officials said.
“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. “People who have symptoms of dengue should contact their healthcare provider immediately.”
Health officials said that this is the second dengue case in Martin County. The county’s only previous case was contracted by a Port Salerno resident in August 2011. There have been no previous locally acquired cases in St. Lucie County.
Mosquito Control in Martin and St. Lucie Counties have been inspecting and treating properties in the affected areas, health officials said.
The Florida Department of Health continues to advise the public to remain diligent in their personal mosquito protection efforts. These efforts should include:
Drain water from garbage cans, house gutters, buckets, pool covers, coolers, toys, flower pots or any other containers where sprinkler or rain water has collected.
Discard old tires, drums, bottles, cans, pots and pans, broken appliances and other items that aren't being used.
Empty and clean birdbaths and pet's water bowls at least once or twice a week.
Protect boats and vehicles from rain with tarps that don’t accumulate water.
Maintain swimming pools in good condition and appropriately chlorinated. Empty plastic swimming pools when not in use.
Cover skin with clothing or repellent. Make sure to wear socks, long pants and long-sleeve tops
Apply mosquito repellent to bare skin and clothing
Always use repellents according to the label. Repellents with DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, and IR3535 are effective.
Use mosquito netting to protect children younger than 2 months old.
Cover doors and windows with screens to keep mosquitoes out of your house
Repair broken screening on windows, doors, porches, and patios.
Tips on Repellent Use
Always read label directions carefully for the approved usage before you apply a repellent. Some repellents are not suitable for children.
Products with concentrations of up to 30 percent DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide) are generally recommended. Other US Environmental Protection Agency-approved repellents contain Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535. These products are generally available at local pharmacies. Look for active ingredients to be listed on the product label.
Apply insect repellent to exposed skin, or onto clothing, but not under clothing.
In protecting children, read label instructions to be sure the repellent is age-appropriate. According to the CDC, mosquito repellents containing oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under the age of three years. DEET is not recommended on children younger than two months old.
Avoid applying repellents to the hands of children. Adults should apply repellent first to their own hands and then transfer it to the child’s skin and clothing.
If additional protection is necessary, apply a permethrin repellent directly to your clothing. Again, always follow the manufacturer’s directions.
For more information on mosquito-borne illnesses, visit DOH’s website at http://www.doh.state.fl.us/Environment/medicine/arboviral/index.html or call your local county health department.
Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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