Nearly 200 cases of dengue virus reported in New York and New Jersey: CDC

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Nearly 200 people have been infected with dengue in the states of New York and New Jersey so far this year, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

New York has reported 143 cases and New Jersey has reported 41. The disease is uncommon in the Tri-State area but is suddenly popping up by the dozen.

Dengue transmission is typically common in tropical and subtropical areas of the world, according to the CDC.

"These are travelers," said Dr. Sharon Noachman, pediatric infectious disease expert at Stony Brook Hospital. "Patients who live in New York and went on vacation got their mosquito bites there and brought their virus home."

Over 2,500 people have been infected in the U.S. so far this year, about five times higher than the same time last year. Puerto Rico currently makes up the bulk of those cases -- with over 1,700 reported. The U.S. territory declared a public health emergency back in March.

The CDC issued a health alert last month warning health care providers of an increased risk of dengue virus infection this year. Globally, new cases of dengue have been the highest on record, according to the CDC.

Dengue is caused by a virus spread by a type of warm weather mosquito that is expanding its geographic reach because of climate change, experts say.

The most common symptom is a fever with aches and pains, nausea, vomiting and rash. Symptoms usually begin within two weeks after being bitten by an infected mosquito and last 2-7 days. Most people recover after about a week.

There is no widely available medicine for treating dengue infections. The best way to prevent dengue is to avoid mosquito bites, according to the CDC.

"Just like a lot of viral infections, we don't have a treatment a lot of it is supportive care," added Dr. Edward Liu, Chief of Infectious Diseases at Hackensack Meridian Jersey Shore University Medical Center. "And it can be tricky to make the diagnosis, so travel becomes super important as important as the lab work is."

Anyone traveling to a tropical location like Puerto Rico or the Florida Keys where there are mosquitos with dengue should use repellant or cover up. So far the dengue-carrying mosquitos have not been detected in the Tri-State area.

(ABC News and the Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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