KISSIMMEE — The Osceola County Health Department (CHD) is advising residents to take precautions against mosquito bites after receiving confirmation of two cases of dengue fever in Osceola County. 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.
The confirmed cases involved a 43 year-old female and a 57 year-old male. Dengue was diagnosed based on symptoms and later confirmed through lab tests. Both reported travel outside of the country in recent months. The Osceola CHD has followed up with an investigation, the results of which strongly indicate that the infection was not acquired locally.
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. Osceola County 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 (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide, or N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide) 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.
Elimination of breeding sites is one of the keys to prevention.
- 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.