CDC Warns of Rising Threat of Dengue Fever This Summer

Jul 1, 2024

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The Centers for Disease Control is warning people in the US about a possible increase in cases of dengue fever this summer. Dengue fever is an illness carried by mosquitoes. It can cause extreme joint pain in those who contract it. It can also be fatal

At present, 9.7 million cases of dengue have been reported in North and South America so far this year. That's more than double the total number of known cases in all of 2023. 

Puerto Rico declared a health emergency because of the spreading virus in March. The US island region has cited nearly 1,500 cases of the disease. In the continental US, cases of dengue fever contracted locally have been seen in a few hundred people. But 745 Americans reportedly got the illness while traveling to tropical climates.    

Epidemiologists say 1 in 4 cases of dengue fever produce symptoms. Those who contract it often complain it feels like the flu. Symptoms include vomiting and a high fever. Sharp joint pain occurs in more severe cases. Roughly 5% of those treated for the disease die from it. It's fatal for 15% of those who don’t seek treatment. 

Health experts say the US isn’t likely to suffer a severe outbreak of the illness this year. That's partly because of the climate. It's also because most US homes have screened windows and air conditioning. But climate change could threaten to bring more cases to the US in the future. 

Alex Perkins is a University of Notre Dame biological sciences professor. Perkins told The New York Times that the worry that dengue fever might be a "growing problem" in the US is a valid concern

Reflect: How might climate change impact the spread of diseases, such as dengue fever?

What was the author’s main point in the paragraph discussing the impact of climate change on dengue fever? (Common Core RI.5.2; RI.6.2)
a. Climate change has no effect on dengue fever in the US.
b. Climate change has already stopped the spread of dengue fever.
c. Climate change could lead to more dengue fever cases in the US in the future.
d. Climate change only affects tropical regions.
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