Martin Co. health officials test for dengue fever

4:50 PM, Sep 14, 2013   |    comments
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STUART, Fla. (AP) - Public health officials continued to knock on doors Saturday along Florida's Treasure Coast, alerting residents about a mosquito-borne illness that has already been confirmed in more than a dozen cases in the area.

Rachel Heid was one of the 18 residents who caught dengue fever. It was at the very beginning, she said, more than a month ago when she thought she just had the flu. Her symptoms were much worse than she had expected.

"I got sick at the very beginning before we knew what it was. I had 105 fever, headache, slightly nauseous and extremely, extremely tired was the biggest thing," she told WPTV.

Heid now has to see her doctor every three weeks until Nov. She said she was also spraying herself down with bug spray at least three times a day, to prevent any future exposure to mosquitoes.

Since Friday, blood samples were being collected from Rio and Jensen Beach neighborhoods where the outbreak appears to be concentrated. Randomly selected participants will be asked if they have recently suffered symptoms of dengue fever. They wialso be asked about their recent travel and about activities that might expose them to mosquitoes.

Health Department authorities said they would compile a report of how many people have so far consented to the test and survey and release the information within the next couple of days. The surveys will be conducted through Thursday.

Dengue is sometimes called "break bone fever" because of the severe joint pain it causes in extreme cases. Other symptoms include high fever, severe headache and a rash.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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