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Dengue Fever Declared Public Health Emergency in Puerto Rico: What Travelers Need to Know

Puerto Rico Experiences Public Health Crisis with Surge in Dengue Cases

Dengue Fever Declared Public Health Emergency in Puerto Rico: What Travelers Need to Know

Dengue, a mosquito-borne illness that has surged throughout the Americas this year, has been declared a public health emergency in Puerto Rico. Health officials in the U.S. territory of 3.2 million people have identified 549 cases of dengue, with almost half the cases concentrated in the capital of San Juan. Also known as “breakbone fever,” dengue can cause headaches, soreness, fever, and rashes—and, in extreme cases, death.

This year’s dengue outbreak has surpassed historical records, according to Health Secretary Carlos Mellado. The emergency declaration will make it easier for the health department to access funding for detection and prevention. However, there is no immediate impact on travel to or from Puerto Rico, which is a popular holiday destination.

Major outbreaks of dengue have also occurred this year across large swathes of the Americas, 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 mosquitoes and to protect themselves from bites by using insect repellent and wearing long sleeves and pants.

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