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Martin County health officials test for dengue fever

STUART — 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 November. She said she was also spraying herself down with bug spray at least three times a day, to prevent any future exposure to mosquitoes.

Blood samples are being collected from neighborhoods where the outbreak appears to be concentrated, and a survey is asking about symptoms of dengue fever, recent travel of participants and activities that might expose them to mosquitoes. Health Department authorities said they would release information within the next couple of days.

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.

Martin County health officials test for dengue fever 09/14/13 [Last modified: Saturday, September 14, 2013 9:40pm]

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