The number of Dengue fever cases reported in the United States nearly doubled in 1995 over what had been the average for each of the previous eight years, the government reported Thursday.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention counted 86 cases last year. The average number per year was 45 for 1987 through 1994.
The CDC blamed most of the increase on Americans traveling to areas where the disease was rampant last year - Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. Increased outbreaks in those areas were largely caused by less spraying for mosquitoes and better breeding conditions for the pests, said Dr. Eduard Sanders of the CDC’s National Center for Infectious Diseases.
Dengue, which is carried by mosquitoes, causes high fever, headaches, and body-wracking muscle pains. In severe cases, which can be fatal, patients also suffer internal bleeding.
The CDC recommends that travelers to Central America and the Caribbean take mosquito repellent or wear clothing covering their arms and legs.