San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Dengue Outbreak Keeps Growing in C. Pacific

A dengue fever outbreak in the central Pacific town of Parrita continues to expand. In the last two weeks, reported cases have jumped from 223 to 398. Seventeen patients had to be hospitalized, one of them suffering hemorrhagic dengue.

The Social Security System (Caja), Health Ministry and private enterprise have teamed up to educate residents, arm them with repellant and drain containers holding standing water, but so far, they haven’t managed to put the brakes on the illness’s spread.

Dr. Edgar Carrillo of the MaxTeránValsHospital in Quepos said clinical analysis of the individual cases is still being conducted to try to better understand the outbreak.

He said it could be the spread of a new kind of dengue – serotype 3 – one the country hasn’t seen before.

According to the daily La Nación, serotype 3 entered the country last December. According to a Caja press release, the most affected areas in Parrita are Barrio La Inmaculada, Bella Vista Boca Vieja, Barrio Los Angeles, la Pascua, El Cocal Paquita and Naranjito.

While dengue numbers are growing in Parrita, the Health Ministry stated that nationwide, cases have declined precipitously over the last several years.

Dengue, whose symptoms include fever, vomiting and muscle pain, has no cure aside from bed rest. Should the disease develop into hemorrhagic dengue, on the other hand, a strain of the virus that causes bruising and bleeding from the nose, gums and other orifices, symptoms can be more severe and sometimes fatal.

–Nick Wilkinson


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