San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Dengue out of control in Costa Rica

Cases of dengue fever in Costa Rica already have exceeded 12,000 this year, which is four times the number of cases recorded in the first five months of 2012, according to official data.

Catalina Ramírez, a physician with the Epidemiological Surveillance Service at the Social Security System, or Caja, said on Thursday that a total of 12,000 cases were reported earlier this week, which is only the beginning of the rainy season and the period of greatest proliferation of Aedes aegypti carrier mosquitoes. Rainy season in Costa Rica runs from May to November.

Of those figures, 20 are cases of the hemorrhagic type of dengue (DHF), which can be lethal, Ramírez said.

Caja officials reported 3,000 cases of dengue during the first five months of 2012, and by the end of the year the number reached nearly 27,000, which clearly shows the high impact of rainy season on the proliferation of dengue cases.

Most of this year’s patients – 60 percent – are from the Central Pacific, North Pacific and the Caribbean regions, which also are the areas that draw the most tourists.

Dengue, which causes fever, body aches and even death in DHF cases, appeared in Costa Rica in 1993 and has caused 22 deaths, including one this year.

Last year, the Caja recorded a total of 26,808 cases – nearly double the 13,854 reported in 2011 – which cost that agency some $9.5 million.

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