In the last 10 years dengue has spread markedly through Latin America and the Caribbean (Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Barbados, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, and Brazil). The mosquito Aedes aegypti has taken advantage of increased urbanization and crowding to transmit the dengue virus. The mosquito infests tires, cans, and water jars near dwellings. The female mosquito practices multiple, interrupted feeding. Thus, mosquito infesting and feeding practices facilitate dengue transmission in crowded conditions. Factors contributing to the spread of dengue include numbers of infected and susceptible human hosts, strain of dengue virus, size of mosquito population, feeding habits, time from infection to ability to transmit virus for both vector and host, likelihood of virus transmission from human to mosquito to human, and temperature (which affects vector distribution, size, feeding habits, and extrinsic incubation period). Public health models may use simulation models to help them plan or evaluate the potential impact of different intervention strategies and/or of environmental changes (e.g., global warming). Other factors contributing to the dengue epidemic are international travel, urbanization, population growth, crowding, poverty, a weakened public health infrastructure, and limited support for sustained disease control programs. Molecular epidemiology by nucleic acid sequence analysis is another sophisticated technique used to study infectious diseases. It showed that dengue type 3 isolated from Panama and Nicaragua in 1994 was identical to that responsible for the major dengue hemorrhagic fever epidemics in Sri Lanka and India in the 1980s. Public health officials must remember three priorities relevant to dengue and other emerging infections: the need to strengthen surveillance efforts, dedicated and sustained involvement in prevention and control needs at the local level, and a strong public health infrastructure at the international, national, and local levels to maintain support for surveillance and control activities.