Dengue Fever Declares Emergency in Puerto Rico, with Record-Breaking Cases: What Travelers Need to Know

Puerto Rico Experiences Public Health Crisis with Surge in Dengue Cases

This year, dengue fever has been on the rise throughout the Americas, and Puerto Rico has declared a public health emergency to combat the mosquito-borne illness. With over 549 cases reported across the US territory of 3.2 million people, almost half of which are located in San Juan’s capital, dengue is causing headaches, soreness, fever, and rashes—and in extreme cases, death. Health Secretary Carlos Mellado stated that this year’s cases have surpassed historical records.

The emergency declaration has no immediate impact on travel to or from Puerto Rico, a popular holiday destination. However, it will make it easier for the health department to access funding for detection and prevention efforts. Large swathes of South America have also experienced major outbreaks of dengue this year, including Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, and Peru. Last year, parts of Florida were put under a mosquito-borne illness alert due to dengue.

Dengue is caused by the Aedes mosquito and can be prevented by eliminating standing water where mosquitoes breed. The health department advises travelers to take precautions such as wearing long sleeves and pants when outdoors and using insect repellent. It is important for individuals who have recently traveled to areas with known dengue outbreaks to monitor their symptoms closely and seek medical attention if necessary.

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