The Weather Channel reports:
Dengue fever — a mosquito-borne illness that infects as many as 100 million people worldwide every year, but is rare in the United States — has been found in Florida, the Florida Health Department confirmed.
Seven cases have been reported in Martin and St. Lucie counties from individuals returning from Caribbean nations, where dengue fever in endemic, according to the state’s Department of Health. In South Florida, an 18-year-old man contracted the virus locally.
Until 2009, there had not been a report of dengue fever in Florida or the rest of the continental United States since 1934. Now, several cases occur each year, typically in the Florida Keys (pictured above), usually imported from the Caribbean, Central and South America or Asia.
Dengue is a sub-tropical disease that spikes during warm seasons in the tropics and subtropics, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Like other mosquito-borne diseases, such as malaria, disease epidemiologists believe dengue fever rates will increase worldwide because of climate change. (The warming climate not only encourages the spread of disease-carrying insects, but also prolongs the season during which infection is possible, according to a study recently published in the journal Science.)