Last updated: 01:50 AM ET, Mon October 29 2012

Puerto Rico Tourism Official Says Travel Remains Safe Despite Dengue Fever Epidemic

Features & Advice Puerto Rico Brian Major October 11, 2012

Puerto Rico Tourism Official Says Travel Remains Safe Despite Dengue Fever Epidemic

Travel to Puerto Rico remains safe despite the Puerto Rico Health Department’s recent declaration of a dengue fever epidemic, said Luis G. Rivera-Marin, executive director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC).

“The government of Puerto Rico is taking coordinated and aggressive steps to prevent the spread of mosquito-borne dengue fever on the Island,” Rivera-Marin said in a statement issued Thursday. Dengue fever is a non-contagious disease carried by mosquitoes that does not transmit from person to person.  Aedes aegypti, the mosquito whose bite spreads the fever, is commonly found in tropical and subtropical regions around the world. 

“Visitors should know that Puerto Rico remains a safe destination. Chances of contracting dengue fever are minimal but travelers can take the following precautionary measures to further minimize their chances of being bitten by a mosquito,” he said. “Visitors are encouraged to use a DEET-based insect repellent when outdoors, especially two hours after sunrise and before sunset, when mosquitoes are most likely to be present.  We also recommend that visitors wear long-sleeve shirts and long pants when visiting densely wooded areas.  In the unlikely event that a visitor experiences any of the warning signs posted by the Puerto Rico Health Department, the person should seek immediate medical attention from one of our highly-respected medical centers.”

Rivera-Marin encouraged visitors with questions to consult the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website or the Puerto Rico Health Department dengue hotline at 866-805-7777.