HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) — The heavy rains the Rio Grande Valley experienced this past week could bring more dangers than flooding. With standing water the area is under threat from an influx of mosquitoes.
One of the most common mosquito-borne diseases in the Rio Grande Valley, and the world, is dengue fever. The symptoms of which just seem like normal aches and pains.
Cameron County Health Authority Dr. James Castillo said that the most common symptoms of dengue fever are “a fever, a rash, back pain.”
Because of the recent flooding, more mosquitoes will be around and people should be on the lookout for those symptoms. Castillo said they need to go to the doctor if they become severe.
“It can be very high fever and really bad pain. People can feel extremely terrible,” said Castillo.
Dengue fever is not usually fatal on its own, but if left untreated, it can become more serious, and deadly.
“In rare cases, it can lead to a more serious illness called ‘dengue hemorrhagic fever’, where there’s bleeding and blood clotting problems,” explained Castillo.
There have not been many cases of dengue fever in the Rio Grande Valley in the past few years and doctors want to keep it that way.
The extended days of rain the RGV has experienced can complicate that. The past week of rain was annoying for people but great for mosquitoes and their reproductive cycle.
“What they like to do is lay their eggs in buckets or other places where rain water can collect,” said Castillo. And there are plenty of places like that in the Valley right now, or even just places with standing water that isn’t draining.
According to the CDC, it only takes around a week for mosquito eggs to hatch and become adult mosquitoes. You can help stop that process by removing places the mosquitoes can lay their eggs.
“Avoiding those breeding grounds for those mosquitoes near your home. So, go around your yard, go around your houses and look for all those standing waters and dump them out,” said Castillo.
Dengue fever can only be verified by a blood test, so there are usually less than a dozen confirmed cases in the Rio Grande Valley each year.
Researchers proposed that it is likely many cases of dengue fever don’t get reported.
Read their three-page report below.