Puerto Rico Declares Epidemic as Dengue Cases Skyrocket

Puerto Rico Declares Epidemic as Dengue Cases Skyrocket

(DailyDig.com) – A public health epidemic of dengue cases has caused Puerto Rico to declare an emergency. According to their health department, mosquito-borne dengue has sickened almost 550 people over the first months of 2024.

Carlos Mellado López, the health secretary for the country, stated that the number of cases so far this year has gone beyond what they have experienced before. The concern about the outbreak stems from the fact that, all of last year, Puerto Rico had only seen 1,293 cases, as reported by the media.

Other countries have also reported a surge in dengue. Peru saw a record-breaking number of dengue cases last year, with Brazil reporting over one million people who have contracted the disease this year. Nearly half of the population of the world is at risk of getting the disease, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The Aedes mosquito is usually the carrier of the dengue virus, and it passes to humans through their bites. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only one-fourth of people infected with the virus actually get sick.

Most of the individuals who have contracted the virus don’t show any signs of being infected or may only present mild symptoms. Some of the symptoms include joint and/or muscle pain, fever, and nausea. The mild infections usually last one to two weeks.

Rarely, people have more serious symptoms severe enough to need hospitalization, which may eventually cause death. The additional serious symptoms are abdominal pain, bleeding from the nose or gums, and constant vomiting. People who have already experienced the dengue virus are at risk of becoming severely ill.

Treatment, once infected with the virus, only consists of taking an over-the-counter pain reliever to reduce the person’s pain and fever. A vaccine, Dengvaxia, is available to prevent dengue only for people who have already experienced the disease.

The leading preventative measure to avoid the virus is to not allow mosquitoes to bite, such as by wearing loose clothing to cover extremities, using insect repellents, and screening doors and windows.

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