Published: Aug 15, 2013 10:40 AM EDT

STUART, Fla. (AP) - Health officials say they've confirmed three cases of dengue fever contracted in central Florida.
    
Dengue fever is a viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes. Millions of cases are reported worldwide each year, but it's rare for anyone to contract it in the United States.
    
According to the Florida Department of Health, the three patients are residents of Martin and St. Lucie counties. Officials say the patients acquired dengue from mosquitoes in Rio.
    
The health department says St. Lucie County hasn't had any cases of locally acquired dengue until now. There was one previous case of dengue contracted in Martin County in 2011.
    
Dengue is sometimes called "break bone fever" because of the severe joint pain it causes in extreme cases. Other symptoms include high fever, severe headache and a rash.

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