COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. — The Florida Department of Health in Collier County is putting out a new health advisory for Dengue fever.
This comes after a confirmed human case of the disease was acquired locally. This is the first locally acquired case in 20 years in the county.
The health department warns there is a heightened concern for additional residents to become ill.
The disease is transmitted via salvia in Aedes Aeqypti mosquitoes. Collier Mosquito Control District Executive Director Patrick Linn says these daytime mosquitos are abundant this time of year due to the weather.
“Because of the rain and the heat, they are very tropical mosquitoes,” said Linn. “And so, the abundance of water in and around households is a great habitat for these mosquitoes and it provides them an opportunity to bite.”
Linn says the control district is testing mosquitoes in their in-house lab and have yet to find a mosquito carrying the disease.
“We haven’t seen any dengue, yet,” said Linn “But we are testing in these areas that the health department has given us indications for it. Hopefully, we won’t see any and we will just knock the numbers down.”
The control district knocks down mosquito numbers in two ways. The first using mobile trucks spraying larvicide to help prevent the growth of the adult population and nighttime areal spraying via aircraft to kill the adults.
“We will do what we can to protect public health and we will certainly get the numbers of the mosquitoes down, which will reduce the risk of transmission,” said Linn. “But as far as our public is concerned, it is very important to follow what we call the five D’s.”
Those five D’s are Deet, dress, dusk/dawn, and drain. Deet and proper dress will slow the number of mosquito bites as well as avoid activity at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active. Lastly, drain standing water around your home. That water can become a breeding ground for mosquitoes of all types. Linn tells me that the risk of Aedes Aeqypti will go down as we transition from the wet season to the dry season over the next few months.
“It is something to be mindful of and take care to try and prevent, but at the same time I don’t think it is anything worth having a panic attack over,” said Linn.
Linn tells us the Collier Mosquito Control District is not seeing any other diseases currently that we need to be overly concerned about. As for Dengue Fever, the symptoms include severe headache generally occurring behind the eyes, high fever, muscle and joint aches, and a severe rash near the bite site.
According to the CDC, those symptoms typically last 2 to 7 days with most people recovering after about a week’s time. If you suspect you contracted Dengue Fever, the Florida Health Department says it is best to contact your doctor immediately.