Local News

Oct 14, 2013 3:43 PM by Sara Donchey

New Study Finds Evidence of Dengue Fever in Houston

CORPUS CHRISTI -- A new study shows that almost 50 illnesses in Houston, including two fatalities, previously attributed to West Nile Virus were more likely Dengue Fever.

Dengue Fever is a disease most often seen in developing countries like India and Costa Rica, where numbers of Dengue cases are soaring.

Researchers say Dengue Fever is probably still active in Houston and they have confirmed 20 cases of the disease this year in Florida.

Dr. William Burgin of the City-County Health Department said he wouldn't be shocked to find the disease in the Coastal Bend.

"It's certainly possible for us to have Dengue Fever here. In fact, it has spread through the years to more and more areas, so we would not be surprised to have a case down here," said Burgin.

Although we haven't had any reported cases in the Coastal Bend since the late 90's, mosquito-borne illnesses are always a threat.

Experts advise people to take the usual steps to protect themselves, by getting rid of standing water and using bug spray with Deet.

And just because the sun's out doesn't mean you're safe. In fact, it's the exact opposite.

The Aedes Aegypti mosquitos bite during the day, and for that reason, health officials urge people to be vigilant regardless of the time of day.

Although Vector Control tests mosquito samples for West Nile Virus weekly, they normally do not test for Dengue.

The health department says they will work with Vector Control if a case arises, but that in the meantime, people should be aware of the symptoms.

"It can be a very mild disease as well. You can just feel like you got the flu, or you're just not feeling well, or you're kind of achy. Or you can have the more severe type which is the hemorragic type. And that causes significant bleeding and death."

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