Dengue fever is painful, unpleasant, and contagious. It used to be limited in its geographic area – a tropical disease. That is changing. We’ve seen a steady spread of dengue’s territory over the last 30 years, and dengue prevalence has increased by three thousand percent over the last fifty years.
The National Resources Defense Council just released a report on dengue fever’s spread in the United States. They found that “mosquitoes capable of transmitting dengue have spread into at least 28 US states, including Texas, Florida, Arizona, and even states as far north as New York and New Hampshire.” That’s right – a tropical disease in New Hampshire. Now might be a good time to buy stock in mosquito repellant and screen doors.
In case you were wondering: dengue is also known as breakbone fever, and it’s an infection spread by mosquitoes. (Not the same kind of mosquito that spreads malaria, because that would be too easy). Its death rate is not that high, but it spreads quickly. It is a very, very painful illness – thus the name “breakbone”. And some unlucky cases develop a complication called Dengue hemorrhagic fever, which has a death rate of 2.5%-10% and is just as unpleasant as it sounds.