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Recent Outbreak of Dengue in Key West Raises Concern

Outside of Texas-Mexico border, no U.S.-acquired cases had been confirmed in decades

MONDAY, May 24 (HealthDay News) -- A recent outbreak of 28 dengue cases in Key West, Fla., should prompt clinicians to consider dengue in diagnosing patients who live in or have recently traveled to subtropical parts of the United States, according to a report published in the May 21 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The researchers note that the outbreak, confirmed in recent months, represents the first diagnosed cases of dengue acquired within the continental United States outside of the Texas-Mexico border since 1945. The first reported case in the recent outbreak involved a New York woman whose only recent travel had been to Key West. Within weeks of her diagnosis, two infections in Key West residents who had not left the area recently were confirmed. Through April 13, 2010, 25 more Key West cases were confirmed.

According to the report, after the first three reported cases of locally acquired dengue, The Florida Keys Mosquito Control District increased truck and aerial spraying to control mosquito populations and initiated a door-to-door approach to find and eliminate mosquito breeding sites. In addition, local, state and federal agencies have provided public and physician education programs to emphasize the importance of eliminating mosquito breeding sites as well as early identification, prevention and treatment of dengue.

"Clinicians should include dengue in the differential diagnosis of acute febrile illnesses in patients who live in or have recently traveled to subtropical areas of the United States or to the tropics," the authors write.

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