Yale Epidemiologist Discusses Dengue Fever Outbreak in Americas

Cases of dengue fever are surging at a record pace across South America and Puerto Rico. The Pan American Health Organization recently confirmed that 3.5 million cases of dengue and more than 1,000 deaths have been reported across South and Central America in the first three months of this year. This is compared to a total of 4.5 million reported cases in the region in all of 2023. The outbreak has reached as far north as Puerto Rico, which recently declared a dengue epidemic due to a sudden spike in cases and hospitalizations. Dr. Albert Ko, MD, an infectious disease epidemiologist in the Yale School of Public Health’s Department of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases, specializes in community-based interventions to epidemics such as dengue, Zika, meningitis, and leptospirosis. He has conducted extensive research on infectious diseases in Brazil, where the vast majority of dengue cases have been reported. In addition to serving as Yale’s Raj and Indra Nooyi Professor of Public Health, Ko is a collaborating researcher at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation of the Brazilian Ministry of Health. Ko shares his insights about the current dengue public health threat below.

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