Puerto Rico fears a new dengue outbreak.

The number of detected dengue cases is running at above-average levels as Puerto Rico enters the peak season for the painful disease.

The territory's Health Secretary Lorenzo Gonzalez says 111 cases were reported the first week of June and 117 cases the previous week. Eight cases of the more-severe hemorrhagic form have been confirmed, though no one has died.

A U.S. Centers for Disease Control report shows new infections running at a pace that has marked past epidemics. Dengue cases usually peak in early October.

Gonzalez said late Tuesday that detected cases may be rising because of new courses to help doctors identify symptoms.

Puerto Rico had its largest ever dengue outbreak in 2010 with more than 12,000 suspected cases and a record 31 deaths.

Dengue, a disease caused by a virus, has no vaccine. It generally causes fever, headaches and extreme joint and muscle pain. Most sufferers recover within a week. The more severe hemorrhagic form can be deadly.

Once thought to have been nearly eliminated from Latin America, dengue has gained strength in the region since the early 1980s, in part because tourism and migration are circulating four different strains, increasing the risk of multiple exposure and making it more likely victims will come down with the hemorrhagic form.

Dengue rates in other countries in 2010:

  • Venezuela has registered 123,000 cases of dengue, 10,203 of them hemorrhagic, a jump of 92 percent compared to the prior year, according to health ministry numbers given to the local press.
  • Ecuador had 4,000 people come down with the disease, and four deaths.
  • Dominican Republic, had 49 deaths, and 12,053 infections.
  • Mexico had 28,688 cases (22 percent of the hemorrhagic), and 47 deaths.
  • Guatemala had 16,863 suspicious cases, 203 of them hemorrhagic, with 41 deaths.
  • Nicaragua had 3,000 cases, 80 of them hemorrhagic, and nine deaths.
  • El Salvador had 8,979 cases, (a 20 percent jump from the year before) and three deaths.
  • Costa Rica had 27,000 cases, and one death.
  • Panama had 1,608 cases, and no deaths.
  • Cuba had 67 cases and no deaths.
  • Uruguay and Chile report they have had no severe cases of dengue.

Based on reporting by the Associated Press.

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