San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Dengue Declared Epidemic by Health Ministry

The Public Health Ministry declared this year’s outbreak of hemorrhagic dengue “epidemic” recently citing a 150% increase in cases this year compared to 2006.

According to ministry statistics, more than 180 people have been infected with the more serious hemorrhagic dengue, a strain of the virus that causes bruising and bleeding of the nose, gums and other orifices and is sometimes fatal.

The ministry is also investigating the possibility that dengue led to the deaths of more than 10 people, including three infants, according to a report in the daily La Nación.

Dr. Henry Wasserman, of the Epidemiology Unit at the Health Ministry, said people who’ve already been inflicted with dengue once are most likely to be infected by the hemorrhagic version.

Both are transferred to humans via the mosquito known as Aedes aegypti, which is most common in coastal, humid regions.

To date, Limón, on the Caribbean, and Guanacaste, along the northwest Pacific coast, are the provinces most affected by the outbreak of dengue fever, and cases have more than doubled compared to last year (TT, July 6).

Most recently, the Health Ministry announced its decision to cancel Limón’s annual Carnaval, the region’s iconic cultural festival, due to the rampant outbreak in that province and the potential for further deaths (TT, Aug. 30).


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