Dengue fever presence in Florida at a 'pretty serious level'

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Matawan, NJ

#1 Sep 13, 2013
Dengue fever presence in Florida at a 'pretty serious level'
by Patricia Sagastume
September 12, 2013 | 4:30PM ET

Mosquito-borne disease once contained to metro areas in tropics gaining foothold in US, possibly due to climate change

Marty Baum, 59, dragged his feverish, achy bones out of bed on a hot, humid day in early September, lathered himself with mosquito repellent and attended a clean-water rally in central Florida.

Most days, he prefers to be surrounded by water. Baum is an official Indian River Keeper -- a post devoted to the restoration of one of the country’s most biologically diverse estuaries in North America, along Florida’s east coast.

But nothing was going to keep him away -- not even dengue fever.

“I felt pretty beat-up, but bottom line, I had to be there,” he said.

A week earlier, Baum was in the throes of the worst part of the tropical illness known as “break bone fever,” named for the excruciating joint pain and virulent flulike symptoms associated with the disease.

“One minute I’m watching the Dolphins game on TV, and then next minute I have a 102-degree fever,” he said.“I nearly went into convulsions, I was shivering and sweating so much.”

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