Blackmore noted that dengue is not transmitted person to person, but from humans to mosquitoes and then back to humans again. However, trying to eradicate house mosquitoes has never been successful, she said, because of where they tend to propagate. "House mosquitoes are lazy mosquitoes -- they breed in [even] very small containers," she said.
The report appears in the January issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, which is published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Dr. Hal Margolis, chief of the CDC's dengue branch, said that most dengue that appears in the United States is still brought back by people who have traveled to areas in the world where the diseases is endemic. "There are thousands of people who come back with dengue. That's really the biggest problem," he said.
There are also sporadic outbreaks along the Texas/Mexican border, Margolis said. In addition, dengue is endemic in some areas of the United States such as Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Asian possessions such as Guam and American Samoa, he said.
The Key West outbreak was unusual in that it lasted for two seasons, Margolis said. "Frankly, we don't know if it is still there," he added. "How it got introduced, we don't know."
Dengue could still become endemic in Florida, Margolis said. "We won't know for several seasons. Only time will tell us; it's really had to predict," he said.
The disease can cause a high fever and people can feel sicker than they have ever felt before, Margolis said. "The danger comes in those people who get severe dengue; that usually happens with a second or third infection," he said. "Twenty-five percent of people who have first infections may go on to have severe dengue."
In severe dengue, plasma leaks out of the blood vessels, ending up around the lungs and abdomen, and sufferers can develop shock, Margolis said. About 15 percent of people have these severe signs, he s
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