Cases of Dengue Up 115% over Last Year

May 25, 2007

About 115% more cases of dengue have sprung up so far this year compared to the same period last year, leaving one Costa Rican family to mourn the loss of a baby who died from the hemorrhagic form of this mosquito-transmitted disease.

Isaac Alonso Montenegro, one year and six months old, died April 19 at the National Children’s Hospital in San José after being transferred there from his Southern Zone home of Paso Canoas, according to the daily La Nación.

Public Health Minister María Luisa Avila reported May 18 that a lab test of his tissue sent to the U.S. Centers for Disease  Control (CDC) in the U.S. city of Atlantaconfirmed he had dengue.

According to statistics the ministry provided The Tico Times yesterday, 4,808 cases of dengue have been registered from the  beginning of this year to May 19, 115% more than the 2,239 cases recorded during the same period last year. About 40 cases of potentially deadly hemorrhagic dengue have been recorded, La Nación reported.

Coastal regions are the areas hardest hit by dengue, according to Teresita Solano, the ministry’s director of epidemic vigilance.

“Many factors” have contributed to this increase in cases over last year, including heavier than usual rains at the beginning of this rainy season and residents failing to clean up mosquito-breeding containers with standing water, she said.

“We have to work hard to avoid there being a greater increase in cases,” Solano said, explaining that the ministry is focusing its anti-dengue efforts on educating the public about how to prevent this disease  from spreading. It is also fumigating a few high-risk areas, although it sees large-scale fumigation as the “last alternative,” to combating the disease.

“The most important thing is  that people clean up the areas around their homes and their communities,” she said.

Preventing dengue is “as much citizens’ job as it is the ministry’s.”

 

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