Dengue Fever: A Growing Health Threat in Puerto Rico and Across the Americas

Puerto Rico Experiences Public Health Crisis with Surge in Dengue Cases

A public health emergency has been declared in Puerto Rico due to a surge in cases of dengue, a mosquito-borne illness that has affected millions of people across the Americas this year. Health officials in Puerto Rico have identified 549 cases of dengue among the US territory’s 3.2 million people, with almost half the cases occurring in San Juan, the capital city. Known as “breakbone fever,” dengue can cause headaches, soreness, fever, and rashes—and in severe cases, death.

Cases of dengue this year have surpassed historical records, according to Health Secretary Carlos Mellado, who made the announcement in a statement. The emergency declaration will make it easier for the health department to access funding for detection and prevention efforts. While there is no immediate impact on travel to or from Puerto Rico—a popular holiday destination—the emergency declaration will allow for increased resources to combat the spread of the disease.

Dengue outbreaks have been widespread throughout large swathes of the Americas this year, including Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, and Peru. Last year, parts of Florida were put under a mosquito-borne illness alert due to dengue. It is important for travelers to take precautions when visiting areas with high levels of mosquito activity and to seek medical attention if they experience symptoms of dengue or other mosquito-borne illnesses.

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