Costa Rica issues health alert over dengue

Costa Rica on Tuesday declared a health alert due to a dengue fever outbreak which has claimed three lives and infected about 12,000 people so far this year, authorities said.

Health Minister Daisy Corrales said the infection rate was four times worse than that of 2012.

"We have to warn the population so that they do not end up in ," she stressed.

Corrales warned that authorities were concerned that three dengue strains were in circulation heading into the rainy season, a prime time for mosquitoes that transmit the disease.

The worst outbreaks of the disease have been in towns on the Pacific coast, popular with sun-and-sand vacationers.

In Parrita for example, there have been 525 infections in the past five weeks.

Dengue is caused by a virus transmitted by mosquitoes which breed in standing water—like puddles or planters.

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