San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Cases of severe dengue continue to rise in Costa Rica

Confirmed cases of the severe types (two and three) of dengue in Costa Rica increased to 32, Health Ministry officials reported on Wednesday.

Currently 24,316 people are infected with one of the three serotypes of the virus, and five patients died, health officials said.

Public hospitals administered by the Social Security System, or Caja, are facing bed shortages to treat the patients, especially in the northwestern province of Guanacaste and the Central Pacific region.

A continuing spike in the number of cases has prompted health officials to consider issuing fines to residents who fail to clean up stagnant water and refuse around homes across the country.

Health Ministry Surveillance Director María Ethel Trejos said recent mid-year vacations helped contribute to the spread of the virus, as Ticos preferred to spend their days off in coastal areas that are most affected by the outbreak.

Also, the coexistence of types one, two and three of the virus increases the risk of being infected, experts say.

Education Minister Leonardo Garnier on Wednesday announced that students from public schools across the country would collect and dispose of objects that could trap stagnant water in schools and in neighboring buildings located within a block.

Objects like old tires, bottles or boxes are breeding places for the Aedes aegypti mosquito, a carrier of the dengue virus.

School cleanups will take place once a month for the next three months, Garnier said.

According to the latest report from the Pan-American Health Organization, Costa Rica leads Central America in the number of dengue cases this year.

Contact L. Arias at

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