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Dengue, a mosquito-borne illness that has been spreading rapidly throughout the Americas, has led Puerto Rico to declare a public health emergency. Health officials in Puerto Rico have reported 549 cases of dengue in the U.S. territory, with nearly half of the cases concentrated in the capital city of San Juan. Dengue, also known as “breakbone fever,” can cause symptoms such as headaches, soreness, fever, and rashes, and in severe cases, can lead to death.

This year’s cases of dengue have exceeded historical records, according to Health Secretary Carlos Mellado. However, the public health emergency declaration will not immediately impact travel to or from the island, which is a popular holiday destination. Despite this, Mellado stated that it will allow the health department to access funding more easily for detection and prevention efforts.

Dengue outbreaks have been reported in various countries across the Americas this year, including Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, and Peru. In the United States, parts of Florida were on alert last year for mosquito-borne illnesses like dengue. It is important for travelers to take precautions when visiting areas where dengue is prevalent and to seek medical attention if they experience any symptoms associated with the disease.

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