dengue fever

Kate Stein / WLRN

As little kids, a lot of us lay awake imagining terrifying monsters that were coming for us. Monsters in our closets who'd spring out and get us if the night light wasn't plugged in. Monsters under our beds that would slither up and eat us if our moms left the room before we fell asleep. Monsters that knew our habits, our vulnerabilities.

WATCH: Mosquitoes Use 6 Needles To Suck Your Blood

Jun 7, 2016

It's not just idle curiosity that's got scientists hunting down all the bloody details of a mosquito bite. Bites from these bugs are more dangerous to humans than those of any other animal; mosquitoes kill hundreds of thousands of people each year worldwide, and sicken millions more.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

While the FDA has released a preliminary finding of no significant impact from a proposed test of genetically modified mosquitoes in the Florida Keys, many in the neighborhood where the test would take place are opposed to the plan.

Oxitec, the company that makes the genetically modified version of aedes aegypti, is holding two public meetings in Key West this week to answer questions from the public, especially those in Key Haven. That neighborhood, a peninsula about five miles from Key West, is the proposed testing site.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

In the fight against mosquitoes in the Florida Keys, domestic inspector Carrie Atwood has a few indispensable tools. She carries a dipper — essentially, a plastic cup at the end of a stick. She has a flashlight for looking into the backs of plants and pots. And she has a turkey baster.

"That's good for getting into bromeliads, which is a plant that holds water at the base of the leaf," Atwood said. "We use that to dip in there or just any other kind of tight space where the dipper won't go."

Keys Prepare For Genetically Modified Mosquito Release

Oct 29, 2014
Javier Devilman / Flickr Creative Commons

Two storage rooms at the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District's Marathon building are being converted into a temporary laboratory to raise genetically modified mosquitoes.

If the FDA approves, the Keys could become the first in the U.S. to release the mosquitos, which are intended to reduce the population of aedes aegypti mosquitoes that carry diseases including dengue fever, malaria and chikungunya.

Public health officials in Florida are once again scrambling to contain an outbreak of dengue fever, a disease spread by mosquitoes.

Until 2009, when it surfaced in Key West, the tropical disease hadn't been seen in Florida in more than 70 years.

Now there are concerns dengue may establish a foothold in the state.

Dengue fever, a mosquito-borne illness, is back in Florida.

A handful of cases have been confirmed in Martin and St. Lucie counties in the past week. The cases there prompted a public health alert. Another case was seen in Miami-Dade, where officials issued a mosquito-borne disease advisory.