Mosquito-borne dengue fever contracted in Hillsborough County

Health officials in Hillsborough County have issued a mosquito-borne illness advisory after confirming a case of locally-acquired dengue fever.

Officials did not say when or where in the county the person contracted the disease.

About one in four people infected with dengue fever will get sick. Symptoms typically appear between two and 14 days after the bite of an infected mosquito.

"It's typically not in the U.S. proper, however with international travel we're seeing it more often," said Brandon Bougard, a registered nurse and AdventHealth's Assistant Vice President of Emergency Services. "In Tampa Bay, water is everywhere. So I would just wear mosquito protectant and just be vigilant and pay attention. If there's a bite and you start exhibiting symptoms, seek medical treatment if you feel uncomfortable."

Symptoms include fever, headache, rash, nausea, vomiting, as well as eye, muscle or joint pain. People with mild illness typically recover within a week, but a small number of infected people can develop severe illness with shock and internal bleeding. People who are at increased risk for severe disease include pregnant women, infants, and those previously infected with dengue.

Hillsborough health officials are urging residents to limit their exposure to mosquitoes by remembering to "drain and cover."

Drain standing water to keep mosquitoes from multiplying. That means draining water from garbage cans, house gutters, buckets, pool covers, coolers, toys, flower pots or any other containers where water has collected. Old tires, drums, pots, and any other items that aren't being used should be discarded. Residents should empty and clean pet's water bowls and birdbaths at least once or twice a week.

Cover skin with clothing or repellent. Health officials urge people to wear shoes, socks and long pants and long sleeves, especially for those who work in areas where mosquitoes are present. Repellent should be applied to bare skin and clothing. Repellents with DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, and IR3535 are effective, officials said. For children younger than two months old, mosquito netting should be used for protection.