Dengue Outbreaks in Guánica-Ensenada and Villalba, Puerto Rico, 1972–1973

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  • San Juan Laboratories, Bureau of Laboratories, and the Field Services Branch, Bureau of Epidemiology, Center for Disease Control, Public Health Service, U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Division of Preventive Medicine, Puerto Rico Health Department, Atlanta, Georgia 30333
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Epidemics of dengue fever occurring in Puerto Rico in 1963 to 1964 and 1969 were caused by dengue-3 and dengue-2 (DN-2) viruses, respectively, but endemic dengue transmission has never been documented on the Island. Since the 1969 epidemic, a surveillance system has detected DN-2 activity on the Island during each of the years 1970 through 1973, which suggests endemic persistence of the virus. This report describes the investigation of localized outbreaks of DN-2 in Guánica-Ensenada (1972) and in Villalba (1973), and presents epidemiological, serological, and virological data from the outbreaks. Analysis of geographic distribution of dengue activity in Puerto Rico in recent years indicates that the DN-2 transmission in 1970 to 1973 may represent a long tail-off of the 1969 epidemic rather than the emergence of a truly endemic situation.

Author Notes

Present address: Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02114. Formerly, Medical Epidemiologist, San Juan Laboratories.

San Juan Laboratories, GPO Box 4532, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00936. Send reprint requests to this address.

Present address: Department of Medicine, University of California Medical Center, San Francisco, California 94122. Formerly, Epidemic Intelligence Officer assigned to the Puerto Rico Health Department.