Health officials in Puerto Rico warned of a potential dengue fever outbreak, citing seven suspected cases on the island which are undergoing tests with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A joint statement issued by the Puerto Rico Dept. of Health and the Puerto Rico Tourism Co. said that officials were working closely with the tourism community on the island to keep all visitors informed of the latest information.

"Visitors should be aware that the majority of cases reported have been confined to areas outside the areas popular with tourists," said Diana Rodriguez, director of public relations for the PRTC.

The Puerto Rico Dept. of Health, meanwhile, launched a public education campaign and is working with municipalities across the island to fumigate public areas on a daily basis.

Residents are urged to eliminate pools of stagnant or standing water, which are potential breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

In addition, hotels are taking extra precautions "to make their accommodations mosquito-free," according to Rodriguez.

Dengue fever, which is carried by the Aedes mosquito, also is known as "breakbone fever" because of the severe joint pains it causes. Symptoms include high fever and rash.

To contact reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected].

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