A The coronavirus pandemic wasn’t the only health threat in the Upper Keys in 2020. More than 50 residents were infected with dengue. From MM 106 Key Largo to Harry Harris Park in Tavernier, intense mosquito control activities were observed for several months.

An outbreak began in mid-June – as the Florida Health Department confirmed a positive case of dengue fever that was locally acquired in Key Largo. From then on, cases grew as health and mosquito control officials implemented a response plan that included inspectors going door-to-door treating properties to prevent breeding.

In addition, truck and aircraft adulticide and larvicide treatments have been carried out in all affected areas to reduce mosquito populations, and hand misters have been used in certain areas. Mosquito traps have been set up in the area to monitor them Aedes aegypti Population. Collected mosquitoes were tested for mosquito-borne diseases.

Until the end of June 10 dengue cases were reported to the health department as mitigation efforts continued. But the numbers continued to grow more than 40 infected by August. All in all, It was known that 56 people were infected with dengue fever.

Dengue fever is not contagious; it is transmitted through the bite of an infected person Aedes aegypti Mosquito. The Keys Weekly spoke to Tom Bartlett, an Upper Keys resident, about his experience with dengue fever. Bartlett lives north of John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo between MM 102.5 and 103 with his wife Sarah and newborn baby. Bartlett said it was mid-June when people he knew got sick. Bartlett said the number of people he would normally see while walking rapidly decreased when they were inside and felt uncomfortable.

“Nobody knew it was dengue at the time,” he said. “Was it COVID or was it something else? There were several ladies in the neighborhood who were investigating. If you look at the symptoms, it kind of alludes to dengue fever. “

Bartlett told the weekly that it wasn’t confirmed until later in June, and people went and got a blood test.

“At that point it wasn’t as if it was reported,” he said. “There was more word of mouth in this South Creek Village (near MM 103, by the sea).”

Bartlett said getting dengue fever felt like mild flu. On the third and fourth days he was in bed when “my body ached from head to toe”.

All individuals who contracted dengue made a full recovery as no deaths were reported. New cases declined in late August and early September.

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