A week after the Health Ministry released a warning on dengue, the Costa Rican Social Security System (Caja) reported that 14,284 cases have occurred in the country so far this year.
Elenita Ramírez, spokeswoman for the Caja, told the daily La Prensa Libre that this year the country is seeing approximately four times as many cases as the previous year. Ramírez also said that in years past, the age group most at risk was 20 to 29-year-olds, but that has now expanded to those between 15 and 65.
Severe cases of dengue are rarer, with only 30 having been reported so far Only three deaths have been attributed to the virus.
Dengue is a mosquito-transmitted virus with no vaccine. The rainy season, which lasts until November for most of Costa Rica, is the peak season for mosquitoes and dengue.
“Epidemiologists said that, right now, the Costa Rican population is vulnerable because three strains of the dengue virus are circulating, and the probability of a second infection by this virus is highly elevated,” the Caja released in a statement on Wednesday.
In San José, the areas most affected were Santa Ana, Mora, La Carpio, Pavas, México, and Guido, according to the daily La Nación.
Outside of the capitol, the most affected provinces were Guanacaste, Puntarenas, Limón and Alajuela.
The Caja also released thirteen tips on fighting the disease.
1. Wash sinks, boats, tins, buckets and other receptacles where water accumulates.
2. Cover all receptacles where you store water.
3. Turn over boats, ferries and other watercraft.
4. Fill tree hollows, flowerpots and other cavities.
5. Recycle all plastics, aluminum and glass that can accumulate water.
6. Reuse in a creative and friendly fashion receptacles of plastic, aluminum, glass and tires.
7. Make holes in tires that you find in parks and parking lots so they do not accumulate water.
8. Bury seeds, coconuts, stalks and other organic refuse.
9. Put objects below the ceiling that can accumulate water and cannot dissolve.
10. Only discard material that can accumulate water in the trash.
11. Fumigate dark areas of your residence below the sink, below furniture, the closet, etc.
12. Organize with neighbors so that mosquitoes who transmit the disease cannot reproduce.
13. Protect yourself if you live in or visit an area where there is an active transmission of dengue with repellent, especially in those most exposed areas of your body.