Puerto Rico's Mosquitoes Continue Carrying Dengue and Zika Viruses

Zika vaccine candidates are conducting clinical trials in 2024
Dengue 2024
Aboviral Diseases Report of the Puerto Rico Department of Health March 21, 2024
San Juan (Precision Vaccinations News)

According to a recent report by the AP, Puerto Rico's health secretary declared an outbreak of dengue virus this week, indicating a concerning trend for 2024.

Puerto Rico joins several countries in the Region of the Americas facing an upsurge in dengue cases.

As of week #11, the Aboviral Diseases Report by the Puerto Rico Department of Health confirmed 586 cases of dengue fever as of March 28, 2024.

This is a significant increase when compared to the 1,293 cases reported for the entire year of 2023. If this trend continues, Puerto Rico may experience the most significant dengue fever outbreak in history.

Additionally, Puerto Rico's battle against the Zika virus has extended into 2024.

The health department confirmed three Zika cases so far this year, which is far less than the 43 Zika virus cases reported in 2023.

Dissimilar to dengue, these Zika cases are concentrated in the capital city of San Juan, located on the northeast coast of Puerto Rico.

San Juan is the largest metropolitan area in Puerto Rico, with over 300,000 residents, and welcomes about five million tourists annually.

From a health risk perspective, most dengue cases are mild, but a Zika infection while pregnant could cause birth defects such as microcephaly in an infant, says the U.S. CDC.

From a prevention perspective, there are approved dengue vaccines, but they have limited availability in the U.S.

Furthermore, no approvals have been issued for any Zika vaccine.

But, a second-generation Zika vaccine candidate (Valneva SE VLA1601 ) recently announced it would conduct clinical research in the U.S.

Note: This article was updated on April 3, 2024, to include current case report data.

Our Trust Standards: Medical Advisory Committee

Article by
Donald Hackett