Dengue raises alarm in Central America

by Noe Leiva

Authorities have issued dengue alerts in four nations across Central America, where alarm is rising as the mosquito-borne disease has infected 30,000 people and killed 17 this year alone.

Honduras, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and El Salvador have issued formal alerts. In Guatemala and Panama, officials say they are monitoring the disease, which normally spreads more easily later in the rainy season.

"It is great that they are coming around to fumigate; mosquitoes seem like no big deal but they really can kill you," said Mauricio Gonzalez, a mechanic in the Nueva Esperanza district south of Tegucigalpa.

So far this year, Honduras has had 10 deaths, 8,380 cases of ordinary dengue and 1,219 cases of dengue .

In Honduras alone, the 2010 epidemic killed 83 people.

Health authorities said they have been baffled by this recent outbreak, which has occurred despite a spate of unusually dry weather. The mosquitoes that carry dengue usually proliferate in times of heavy rain.

Dengue affects between 50 and 100 million people in the tropics and subtropics each year, resulting in fever, muscle and joint ache.

The disease is caused by four strains of virus that are spread by the mosquito Aedes aegypti.

There is no vaccine, so in the region, where poverty is widespread, have been trying to stamp it out by focusing on .

The illness can be fatal, developing into hemorrhagic fever, which can lead to shock and internal bleeding.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Dengue fever outbreak hits Costa Rica

Apr 10, 2013

Health officials in Costa Rica said an outbreak of dengue fever has sickened 7,000 people, with many cases occurring in some of this Central American country's most popular tourist areas.

Costa Rica issues health alert over dengue

Jul 03, 2013

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.

Brazil to breed GM mosquitoes to combat dengue

Jul 10, 2012

Brazil said Monday it will breed huge numbers of genetically modified mosquitoes to help stop the spread of dengue fever, an illness that has already struck nearly 500,000 people this year nationwide.

Recommended for you

Ebola kills 31 people in DR Congo: WHO

26 minutes ago

An outbreak of the Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo has killed 31 people and the epidemic remains contained in a remote northwestern region, UN the World Health Organization (WHO) said Tuesday.

Dengue fever strikes models in Japan

3 hours ago

A worsening outbreak of dengue fever in Japan has claimed its first celebrities—two young models sent on assignment to the Tokyo park believed to be its source.

Japanese researchers develop 30-minute Ebola test

3 hours ago

Japanese researchers said Tuesday they had developed a new method to detect the presence of the Ebola virus in 30 minutes, with technology that could allow doctors to quickly diagnose infection.

Senegal monitors contacts of 1st Ebola patient

15 hours ago

Senegalese authorities on Monday were monitoring everyone who was in contact with a student infected with Ebola who crossed into the country, and who has lost three family members to the disease.

Cerebral palsy may be hereditary

21 hours ago

Cerebral palsy is a neurological developmental disorder which follows an injury to the immature brain before, during or after birth. The resulting condition affects the child's ability to move and in some ...

User comments