Puerto Rico Experiences Public Health Crisis with Surge in Dengue Cases

Dengue Fever Declares Public Health Emergency in Puerto Rico as Cases Surge throughout Americas

Dengue fever, a mosquito-borne illness that has seen a surge in cases throughout the Americas this year, has prompted Puerto Rico to declare a public health emergency. The U.S. territory, with its population of 3.2 million people, has identified 549 cases of dengue so far, with nearly half of them concentrated in San Juan, the capital city.

Also known as “breakbone fever,” dengue can cause symptoms such as headaches, soreness, fever, and rashes – and in severe cases, death. Health Secretary Carlos Mellado stated that this year’s cases of dengue have exceeded historical records.

While the emergency declaration does not immediately affect travel to or from Puerto Rico, it will allow the health department to more easily access funding for detection and prevention efforts. Large swathes of Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, and Peru have also experienced major outbreaks of dengue this year. Last year, parts of Florida were put under a mosquito-borne illness alert due to dengue.

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