The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a serious warning regarding a dangerous virus that's spreading across America, including New York.

New York has seen its fair share of health alerts this year.  In April, health officials confirmed cases of an extremely dangerous form of bacterial meningitis, which happened around the same time doctors reported that children were coming down with measles.

And, recently, health officials discovered that a highly contagious version of the flu is spreading across New York.

Read More: Contagious Disease Now Showing Up in Upstate NY Wastewater

And just last month, New York reported a "substantial increase" in mpox (formerly monkeypox) cases in the state.

Now, there's another sickness to be on the lookout for and it's relatively new to the area. The CDC says there's been a higher-than-usual number of confirmed cases of dengue worldwide. America has apparently witnessed "record-breaking numbers" of infections, which is "exceeding the highest number ever recorded in a single year."

This has resulted in the United States and Puerto Rico declaring a public health emergency.

As of June 24, 2024, more than 9.7 million dengue cases have been reported in the Americas, twice as many as in all of 2023 (4.6 million cases).

The United States and Puerto Rico reported roughly 2,250 cases since January 1, 2024.

You may wonder how the heck the dengue virus made it all the way up here in New York. It's been widely believed this disease only impacts tropical areas, but with rising temperatures, the virus is able to spread farther north.

Close-Up Of Mosquitoes
Getty Images

Dengue is spread by mosquito bites, notably the Aedes species - also known as the Asian tiger mosquito. That particular species not only transmits dengue, but it's also spreading in the United States due to our warmer-than-average temperatures. This particular species was detected in downstate New York during the Zika virus scare.

Here's where the CDC believed these insects to be in 2017.

Courtesy of the CDC
Courtesy of the CDC

In the past two years, so since 2022, confirmed cases and outbreaks have been reported in Arizona and California. Local outbreaks have also been detected in Florida, Hawaii, and Texas.

The CDC says dengue can cause a wide variety of symptoms and complications, from very mild to lethal. Most times, those infected with the virus present no symptoms, or are asymptomatic.

However, one in four dengue infections do become symptomatic. Common mild signs of infection include nausea, vomiting, rash, joint and bone pain, muscle aches, and fever.  The more serious symptoms include persistent vomiting, liver enlargement, mucosal bleeding, severe bleeding, respiratory distress, and end-organ impairment. About one in 20 symptomatic cases develop these frightening side effects.

Read More: This Will Be the Worst Flea and Tick Season Ever in New York

Infants under one and adults over the age of 65 are at the highest risk of severe dengue. However, those who were previously infected with dengue and are re-infected are also at increased risk. The risk rises with each subsequent infection.

Dengue can be confirmed via a PCR test, but there are no approved antiviral medications one can take to treat the illness. Instead, those infected are provided supportive and volume management like triage and follow ups.

There also is no vaccine to protect oneself against dengue, but Puerto Rico does have some vials from Sanofi Pasteur, a French company, that discontinued their vaccine due to a lack of demand. These vials are administered to children between the ages of 9 and 16 - but the remaining supply is set to expire in 2026.

Health Workers Test And Spray For Mosquitos As Texas Prepares For Zika Virus
Photo Credit - John Moore / Getty Images

It's advised that those who don't wish to get infected use bug spray that's effective against mosquitoes, meaning using sprays that have DEET.  You can also wear loose, long-sleeved shirts and pants when outdoors, and avoid venturing outside during the peak mosquito times before dawn and after dusk.

Isn't it nice that we have yet another mosquito-borne illness to worry about?

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