Sunday, June 30, 2024

Worried about dengue fever? Here are symptoms and where it's been reported in Florida. (Cheryl McCloud, USA Today Network--Florida)

The next global pandemic could  be spread by mosquitos. From USA Today Network-Florida:

Worried about dengue fever? Here are symptoms and where it's been reported in Florida

Dengue fever is the fastest-spreading mosquito-borne viral disease in the world

Cheryl McCloud

Dengue fever has been reported in Florida.

The mosquito-borne disease has been found in a few people who acquired it in Florida and in several others who got it during travels to countries where the disease is more common.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, there have been at least six cases of locally transmitted dengue in Florida so far in 2024, with the latest occurring in Hillsborough County on Florida's West Coast.

Another 172 cases in Florida were travel related.

While most dengue cases reported in the 49 continental US states occur in travelers who visited areas with risk of dengue, limited local spread of dengue has been reported in Florida, Hawaii, Texas, Arizona, and California, the CDC said.

The majority of the dengue cases acquired in Florida were in Miami-Dade County, where six cases have been reported so far this year, according to the Florida Department of Health.

What is dengue fever?

People are infected with dengue through the bite of certain species of mosquitoes, primarily Aedes aegypti (pictured here) and Aedes albopictus.

Dengue is a viral disease caused by any of four related viruses, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

People are infected through the bite of certain species of mosquitoes, primarily Aedes aegypti, but also Aedes albopictusboth of which are present in Florida, according to the Florida Department of Health.

The mosquitoes are common in tropical and subtropical areas, and millions of dengue infections occur around the world every year, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Where is dengue most common?

Dengue viruses are usually spread to people through the bites of infected Aedes species mosquitoes.

Dengue fever is most common in Southeast Asia, the western Pacific islands, Latin America and Africa. 

"Dengue fever is the fastest-spreading mosquito-borne viral disease worldwide, affecting over 100 million people annually," the National Library of Medicine said.

"This disease also leads to 20 to 25,000 deaths, primarily among children, and is prevalent in more than 100 countries. Epidemics occur yearly in the Americas, Asia, Africa, and Australia."

Is there dengue fever in Florida?

Yes. The disease not only has been spreading to new areas, including local outbreaks in Europe, but also to southern parts of the United States, both the CDC and Mayo Clinic reported.

What are the symptoms of dengue fever?

Dengue symptoms.

The most common dengue symptom is a high fever of 104 degrees, and any of the following signs:

  • Headache
  • Muscle, bone or joint pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Rash
  • Pain behind the eyes
  • Swollen glands

Mild symptoms of dengue can be confused with other illnesses that cause fever, the CDC said.

Symptoms of dengue typically last two to seven days.

Most people will recover after about a week.

When to seek emergency help

Severe dengue is a medical emergency, the CDC said. Warning signs usually begin in the 24 to 48 hours after your fever has gone away.

"About 1 in 20 people who get sick with dengue will develop severe dengue. Severe dengue can result in shock, internal bleeding, and death." A blood test is the only way to confirm the diagnosis.

"Untreated severe dengue fever may have a mortality rate of 10% to 20%. However, with appropriate supportive care, the mortality rate can be reduced to approximately 1%," the National Library of Medicine said.

Go to a local clinic or emergency room if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Belly pain or tenderness
  • Vomiting (at least three times in 24 hours)
  • Bleeding from the nose or gums
  • Vomiting blood, or blood in the stool
  • Feeling extremely tired or restless

How does dengue fever spread?

The dengue virus spreads from person to person through the bite from an infected Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus mosquito.

After a female mosquito bites a person infected with the dengue virus, there's an incubation period of 8 to 12 days. After that time, the mosquito can transmit the virus for the rest of their one-month life span, the CDC said.

Are there other names for dengue fever?

Dengue fever is also known as breakbone or seven-day fever.

Both terms describe some of the symptoms suffered by those with the disease, including intense muscle spasms, joint pain, and high fever, according to the National Library of Medicine.

Supreme Court Upholds Ban on Sleeping Outdoors in Homelessness Case. (NY Times)

6-3 decision. "The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal their bread."  

~Anatole France

From The New York Times: 

Supreme Court Upholds Ban on Sleeping Outdoors in Homelessness Case

In a case likely to have broad ramifications throughout the West, the court found an Oregon city’s penalties did not violate the Constitution’s prohibition on “cruel and unusual punishment.”

Multiple tents in s field near trees.
A case dealing with homelessness stems from a series of local ordinances in Grants Pass, a town of about 40,000 in southern Oregon.Credit...Mason Trinca for The New York Times

Reporting from Washington

The Supreme Court on Friday upheld an Oregon city’s laws aimed at banning homeless residents from sleeping outdoors, saying they did not violate the Constitution’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.

The decision is likely to reverberate beyond Oregon, altering how cities and states in the West police homelessness.

The ruling, by a 6-to-3 vote, split along ideological lines, with Justice Neil M. Gorsuch writing for the majority. The laws, enacted in Grants Pass, Ore., penalize sleeping and camping in public places, including sidewalks, streets and city parks.

In her dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, joined by Justices Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson, wrote that the decision would leave society’s most vulnerable with fewer protections.

She added that the laws, which impose fines and potential jail time for people “sleeping anywhere in public at any time, including in their cars, if they use as little as a blanket to keep warm or a rolled-up shirt as a pillow,” punished people for being homeless.

“That is unconscionable and unconstitutional,” Justice Sotomayor wrote. She read her dissent from the bench, a rare move that signals profound disagreement.

The Supreme Court agreed to intervene after an unusual coalition urged the justices to consider the case. State legislators in Republican-led states like Arizona and liberal leaders like Gov. Gavin Newsom of California alike have pointed to a crucial court ruling in 2018 that they say has tied their hands from clearing encampments and managing a growing, and increasingly visible, crisis.

The decision, by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which covers Western states, first declared it cruel and unusual punishment for cities and states to penalize someone for sleeping outdoors if no shelter beds were available.

In California alone, an estimated 171,000 people are homeless, or nearly one-third of the country’s homeless population. There are now 40,000 more people who are homeless in the state than there were six years ago, and tents and encampments are common in many parts of the state.

The dispute arose from Grants Pass, a town of about 40,000 in the foothills of southern Oregon. After residents complained of people sleeping in alleyways and property damage downtown, city leaders enforced a series of local ordinances that banned sleeping in public spaces. The town had no homeless shelter, aside from one run by a religious organization that required, among other rules, attendance at Christian services.

A group of homeless residents sued the city, challenging the ordinances and contending that the local laws essentially criminalized homelessness. The laws, although civil penalties, could eventually lead to jail time, they said.

A federal judge temporarily sided with the homeless plaintiffs, finding the city had no shelter that met the requirement from the 2018 decision.

A divided three-judge panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the lower court and the city appealed, asking the Supreme Court to weigh in.

In Grants Pass, tents and temporary camps continued to line many of the city’s public parks, a particular point of tension for residents of a city reliant on tourism dollars. Local law enforcement officials enforced property ordinances but said they could do little else to clear tents from the parks.

In a lengthy and, at times, contentious oral argument in late April, questioning from the justices reflected the complexity of the debate over homelessness.

They wrestled with what lines could be drawn to regulate homelessness — and, crucially, who should make those rules.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. appeared to encapsulate the views of the conservative wing, suggesting that the matter was an issue best solved by lawmakers and cities and states themselves: “Why would you think that these nine people are the best people to judge and weigh those policy judgments?”

Justice Elena Kagan, for her part, summed up the stance of the court’s liberal justices, forcefully questioning the city’s argument that homelessness was not a state of being and was therefore not protected by the Constitution.

“Could you criminalize the status of homelessness?” Justice Elena Kagan asked a lawyer for the city, Theane D. Evangelis.

“Well, I don’t think that homelessness is a status like drug addiction,” Ms. Evangelis responded.

“Homelessness is a status,” Justice Kagan replied. “It’s the status of not having a home.”

Abbie VanSickle covers the United States Supreme Court for The Times. She is a lawyer and has an extensive background in investigative reporting. More about Abbie VanSickle