LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Two people in Southern California contracted dengue fever without traveling outside the United States, where the mosquito-borne illness is rare, health officials said.
A Pasadena resident was confirmed to have dengue fever last month, but is recovering, officials said.
“This is the first confirmed case of dengue fever in California not associated with travel and is instead an extremely rare case of local transmission in the continental United States,” the Pasadena Public Health Department announced.
The case is still under investigation, but it appears that a person was infected with the dengue virus, returned home and was bitten by a mosquito which transmitted it to the local resident, according to Pasadena health officials.
Long Beach officials announced another nationally acquired case of dengue on Wednesday and said that person has recovered.
Health departments in both cities said the risk of exposure to others was low.
Dengue is caused by several related viruses and is spread through the bite of infected Aedes mosquitoes. It is common in tropical areas and causes high fevers, headaches, nausea, vomiting, muscle pain and, in the most severe cases, internal bleeding which can lead to death.
About 4 billion people, or about half the world’s population, live in areas where dengue poses a risk, and each year there are up to 400 million infections and about 40,000 deaths, according to the Centers for United States Disease Control and Prevention.
The global infection rate has increased, prompting new efforts to combat it.
However, dengue is rare in the United States and its territories, with only 583 locally acquired cases reported so far this year, according to CDC data: 520 in Puerto Rico, 62 in Florida and one in Texas.
New California cases were not part of this count.
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