Treasure Coast Essay
7:20 am
Mon September 16, 2013

Dengue fever comes to the Treasure Coast

I did not know what dengue fever was or even how to pronounce it or how to spell it


I did not know what dengue fever was or even how to pronounce it or how to spell it.   I do now: d-e-n-g-u-e.  I became aware of dengue fever a few weeks ago when cases were first confirmed in Martin County.  Dengue fever is a disease transmitted by a mosquito infected with the dengue virus.  The virus is normally not life-threatening, but it can cause fever, headache, pain in the muscles and joints, and skin rash.  Dengue fever is common in the tropics.  A person goes down there, is bitten by a mosquito with the virus, comes back, is bitten by a mosquito up here, and the mosquito transmits the virus to someone else.  I assume the dengue threat is a top research priority at the Florida Entomological Lab south of Vero Beach.  To protect us against mosquitoes, whether or not they carry the dengue virus, the Florida Department of Health reminds us to “drain and cover.”  Drain standing water from buckets and such outside.  And cover doors and windows with screens.  Also, apply an insect repellent on exposed skin.  The word dengue is Spanish and comes from the Swahili of African slaves for “caused by an evil spirit.”  If you get dengue fever, you will know what they meant.  For 88.9 FM, this is Paul Janensch.