San Juan’s Unhealthy Mosquitoes

Dengue and Zika probable cases reported by Puerto Rico
san juan beach
Puerto Rico (Precision Vaccinations News)

When considering a Caribbean destination for Spring Break 2022, calculating your ability to protect yourself from mosquito bites has become essential.

One of the Caribbean's favorite vacation cities is San Juan, Puerto Rico, which annually averages about 1.5 million visitors. 

However, the local mosquitoes in San Juan continue carrying dengue and Zika viruses.

A recent Puerto Rico Department of Health Weekly Arboviral Diseases report indicates these viruses are infecting people in 2022. 

Published on February 14, 2022, weekly report #4 indicates (32) confirmed and (5) probable dengue cases have been reported in 2022.

And (1) 'probable' Zika case was confirmed in the San Juan vicinity.

Previously, Puerto Rico reported (573) confirmed and (63) probable dengue cases, and (1) confirmed and (44) probable Zika cases in 2021.

In 2021, the vicinity around the city of San Juan reported the most dengue (249) and Zika (10) probable cases last year.

Since Dengue and Zika antibodies can persist for years after infection, the term "probable cases" is defined as infections with a positive serological test, which cannot distinguish between a recent or past infection.

In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 2021 provisional dengue data as of January 5, 2022:

  • 117 dengue cases reported by the U.S. States
  • 513 dengue cases reported by Territories

And in 2020, the CDC reported Zika cases:

  • 4 travel-related
  • 57 U.S. Territories locally acquired probable cases

When it comes to preventing these infections, vaccines are not very helpful.

The Dengvaxia vaccine is U.S. FDA approved and available for the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and freely associated states, including the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau.

Dengvaxia is approved for use in children aged 9 to 16 years with laboratory-confirmed previous dengue virus infection and living in areas where dengue is endemic.

However, Dengvaxia is not yet approved for use in the U.S. 

Furthermore, the FDA has not approved any of the Zika vaccine candidates that are currently conducting clinical trials.

This leaves the CDC to recommend:

  • 'Protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites when visiting disease-endemic locations.'
  • 'Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents.'
  • 'When used as directed, EPA-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective, even for pregnant and breastfeeding women

Vax-Before-Travel publishes fact-checked research-based travel vaccine news.

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