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Dengue Fever Costs Puerto Rico Nearly $38M A Year, Study Shows

“The costs of treating and coping with dengue fever in Puerto Rico total nearly $38 million a year, a new study,” published Wednesday in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, finds, according to U.S. News & World Report. “It also said that every $1 spent on surveillance and prevention of the mosquito-borne disease could save $5 in illness-related costs,” the news service reports (5/2). “A team of researchers from Brandeis University says households in the U.S. territory pay almost half of that cost, with the government and insurance companies splitting the rest,” the Associated Press/Seattle Times notes (5/2).

“Given that the U.S. government covers 62 percent of Puerto Rico’s public health expenses, ‘sound investments related to dengue would benefit not only residents of Puerto Rico but all taxpayers throughout the United States,’ the researchers said in a journal news release,” U.S. News & World Report writes. “‘People generally think of dengue as a disease of poor countries; the fact that we found it to be a major burden in a U.S. territory — and because it recently has cropped up on the U.S. mainland — is a reminder that mosquito-borne illnesses can present an equal opportunity threat,’ study co-author Donald Shepard said in the news release,” the news service adds (5/2).