updated 8/28/2007 8:03:17 PM ET 2007-08-29T00:03:17

Health officials in Puerto Rico warned Tuesday of a potential epidemic of dengue fever in the U.S. territory, with seven suspected deaths from the disease this year.

  1. Don't miss these Health stories
    1. Splash News
      More women opting for preventive mastectomy - but should they be?

      Rates of women who are opting for preventive mastectomies, such as Angeline Jolie, have increased by an estimated 50 percent in recent years, experts say. But many doctors are puzzled because the operation doesn't carry a 100 percent guarantee, it's major surgery -- and women have other options, from a once-a-day pill to careful monitoring.

    2. Larry Page's damaged vocal cords: Treatment comes with trade-offs
    3. Report questioning salt guidelines riles heart experts
    4. CDC: 2012 was deadliest year for West Nile in US
    5. What stresses moms most? Themselves, survey says

More than 3,200 suspected dengue cases have been reported across the Caribbean island since January, more than double the number for the same period last year, according to government epidemiologist Enid Garcia Rivera.

"We are in what could be a dengue epidemic," she said.

Most of the confirmed cases of the mosquito-borne illness have occurred in Puerto Rico's urban areas, where health officials have launched a public education campaign to encourage people to eliminate pools of stagnant water, potential breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

The island's dengue strain has been mild so far, with the majority of people who may be infected showing only flu-like symptoms.

There is no vaccination or cure for dengue, which is also known as break-bone fever because of the severe joint pains it causes. Victims bitten by mosquitoes carrying the disease suffer a high fever and sometimes nausea and rashes. In rare cases, the ailment can be fatal.

Researchers with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are running tests to confirm if the seven suspected deaths in Puerto Rico were caused by deng

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments