Dengue is a disease with symptoms ranging from simple flu-like illness to severe hemorrhagic symptoms, shock, encephalitis, or death, and is caused by any of four distinct dengue virus species (DEN-1, -2, -3, or -4). Nearly unique among arboviruses, the dengue viruses utilize humans as their only natural vertebrate host. The mosquitoes Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus are the principal vectors in most of the world; both are common in Florida.
Dengue has become an increasingly serious threat throughout the Caribbean and Central and South America in the past 15 years, and all four dengue viruses occur in the region. Although dengue transmission has not been documented within Florida in recent years, epidemics of this disease had a major impact during the early development of the state. Dengue was first noticed in Florida in 1850, and by 1934 an epidemic in Miami was estimated to include more than 15,000 cases.