Mosquito-borne disease advisory in Osceola


KISSIMMEE, Fla. – The Osceola County Health Department is advising residents to take precautions against mosquito bites after receiving confirmation of one confirmed case of dengue fever in a 41-year-old female, and one suspect case in a 73-year-old male.

The confirmed case of dengue was diagnosed based on symptoms and later confirmed through lab tests, officials said.

It is unknown whether the case is related to any recent travel outside of the country. The Osceola CHD said it is following up with an ongoing investigation

Dengue is one of several mosquito-borne illnesses monitored by the department. Dengue is a viral disease transmitted by a breed of mosquito common to the southeastern United States and the tropics. It is not spread from person to person.

Officials said they continue surveillance and prevention efforts and encourage everyone to take basic precautions to help limit exposure by following the department of health recommendations.

Symptoms of dengue fever vary according to the age of the patient. Infants and young children may have a fever with rash. Older children and adults may have either a mild fever or a more severe case of the disease with abrupt onset and high fever, severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pains, and rash. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek care from a medical provider.

There is no vaccine or antidote for dengue. The best way to safeguard you and your loved ones from getting the virus is to take preventive measures against mosquitoes. Officials said Osceola residents and visitors should remain diligent in protecting themselves from mosquito bites by following the "5 D's," which include:

  • Drainage – Check around your home to rid the area of standing water, which is where mosquitoes can lay their eggs.
  • DEET – When the potential exists for exposure to mosquitoes, repellents containing DEET are recommended. Picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus are other repellent options. Always read the manufacturer's directions carefully before using a repellant, and make sure the repellant is age-appropriate.
  • Dress – Wear clothing that covers most of your skin.
  • Dusk and Dawn – Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active.

According to officials, the following can help people can eliminate breeding sites:

  • Clean out leaves, troughs, and gutters
  • Remove old tires or drill drainage holes in those used in playgrounds
  • Turn over or remove empty plastic pots
  • Pick up all beverage containers and cups
  • Check tarps on boats or other equipment that may collect water
  • Pump out bilges on boats
  • Replace water in birdbaths and pet or other animal feeding dishes at least once a week
  • Change water in plant trays, including hanging plants, at least once a week
  • Remove vegetation or obstructions in drainage ditches that prevent the flow of water

For more information on dengue fever, visit the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC) website at www.cdc.gov . For mosquito disease activity across the state, go to http://myfloridaeh.com/medicine/arboviral/surveillance.htm.