Health Officials in Florida Find Evidence of Dengue Virus in Search for Zika
Photo: Mosquitos are at the source of all our tropical health care troubles. (Photo courtesy of Thinkstock)
On Wednesday, health officials announced that they have confirmed a case of locally acquired dengue virus while testing thousands of Florida residents for Zika virus.
According to NBCNews.com, Connecticut state health officials said a traveler from Connecticut caught the virus in Florida, making it the second confirmed case this year in the state and the first in Miami.
The dengue virus is a relative of the Zika virus and is transmitted by the same type of mosquitoes. The two viruses are usually found in the same area, and can cause similar symptoms, but the Zika virus mostly harms unborn babies, while dengue can cause deadly hemorrhagic fevers.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has designed tests to diagnose Zika separately from the dengue virus and another related illness, chikungunya. The three viruses can be mixed up in testing, but the CDC’s new tests have been able to differentiate the illnesses.
Florida health officials say they have tested more than 8,300 people as it tries to stop the spread of the Zika virus, finding 120 home-grown cases thus far. They have also been testing the mosquitoes responsible for transmitting the virus—the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes—but the process is difficult due to the fact that the bugs do not travel very far.
Also on Wednesday, Miami-Dade County officials were finally permitted to release the five Miami Beach addresses where Zika-infected mosquitoes have been confirmed after state officials requested the information remain confidential.
“The Department of Health instructed the County, on multiple occasions, to withhold information related to the exact location of the Zika-positive mosquito traps,” Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez told NBCNews.com. “Now that the County has been granted permission—via an email from the Florida Surgeon General—to release this information, we are releasing the addresses. This will be our protocol going forward: We will disclose the locations of any such traps that test positive for Zika to both the property owner and to anyone else who inquires.”
While Florida health officials say there have been no Zika-infected mosquitoes discovered since Sept. 9, there have been 125 locally transmitted cases of the virus and 700 cases carried by travelers or sexually infected by travelers.
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