Fla. health dept.: Mosquito-borne illnesses a serious threat - FOX 13 News

Fla. health dept.: Mosquito-borne illnesses a serious threat

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Two mosquito-borne diseases, dengue fever and chikungunya, are posing a serious threat in Florida as they slowly spread through the state.

According to the Florida Department of Health, there were 24 confirmed cases of dengue fever, and 18 confirmed cases of chikungunya.

Local experts are worried mosquitoes in Florida may have picked up the diseases by biting infected people, which could kick off an outbreak in the state.

There have been more than 100,000 cases reported, most of which were in the Caribbean and South America. The Dominican Republic reported more than 53,000 suspected cases, and Puerto Rico reported about 10,000.

Dengue fever is potentially fatal, and both diseases cause serious and lingering symptoms.

The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention lists the most common symptoms of the chikungunya virus as fever and joint pain.

Health officials have provided information and tips to help Floridians prevent mosquito bites:

  • They say to keep in mind that adult mosquitoes like to bite while it’s light, and also while inside or nearby homes.
  • It's recommended to use repellent on your skin while indoors or out and, when possible, to wear long sleeves and pants for additional protection.
  • They also suggest checking to make sure all window and door screens are secure, and without holes.

Click here for more information from the CDC.

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