MARTIN COUNTY, Fla - Three new cases of Dengue Fever have been reported on the Treasure Coast, bringing the total number of cases there to seven.
Though health officials say all seven patients have recovered, doctors say there's real concern of new people getting sick across the state.
"It is not a new disease, but it is definitely new to us in Florida," said infectious disease specialist Dr. Moti Ramgopal. "We have always thought of Dengue as an infection that comes in from returning travelers, but now it's here in Florida. That is very concerning."
Dr. Ramogpal treated two of the patients over the last few weeks.
He says all were previously healthy adults who got so sick, they couldn't work for a week.
"Fever, chills, body ache, the body ache is very suggestive of the disease itself," said Ramgopal.
The Martin County Health Department went door-to-door Friday, encouraging people to dump standing water.
They say the first three cases were in the Rio area, but the new ones reported today were in the city of Jensen Beach.
"If they do go out, they should probably wear repellant and wear clothing that will protect their skin," said Bob Washam of the Martin County Health Department.
Dr. Ramgopal says death from Dengue is extremely rare, but that emergency rooms all over the region should have this on their radar. He expects these cases to only be, "the first seven."
"Is it going to spread from this year to next year. Is this a sign of the future. It is only seven cases, but there could've more," said Ramgopal.
No cases of dengue fever have been reported in Palm Beach County, according to Palm Beach County Healthy Department.
Symptoms of Dengue Fever include: Joint pain, rash and headache.
The Florida Department of Health continues to advise the public to remain diligent in their personal mosquito protection efforts. These should include remembering "Drain and Cover".
DRAIN standing water to stop mosquitoes from multiplying
- 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
- CLOTHING - Wear shoes, socks, and long pants and long-sleeves. This type of protection may be necessary for people who must work in areas where mosquitoes are present.
- REPELLENT - 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 what repellent is right for you consider using the EPA search tool to help you choose skin-applied repellent products:
DOH continues to conduct statewide surveillance for mosquito borne illnesses, including West Nile virus infections, Eastern equine encephalitis, St. Louis encephalitis, malaria, and dengue.
For more information on mosquito-borne illnesses, visit DOH's website at http://www.doh.state.fl.us/Environment/medicine/arboviral/index.html or contact your local health department.