Puerto Rico Declares Public Health Emergency as Dengue Cases Rise

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Written By Robby Macaay

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Puerto Rico declared a public health emergency over dengue, a mosquito-borne illness that has surged throughout the Americas this year.

Read More: Dengue Fever Is Soaring Worldwide. Here’s What to Know—and How to Stay Protected

Health officials in Puerto Rico have identified 549 cases of dengue across the U.S. territory of 3.2 million people, 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, cases of dengue have surpassed historical records,” Health Secretary Carlos Mellado said in a statement. 

The emergency declaration has no immediate impact on travel to or from Puerto Rico, a popular holiday destination, but it will make it easier for the health department to access funding for detection and prevention, Mellado said.

There have been major outbreaks of dengue 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.

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