San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Chikungunya blues

Tourism sector, Traffic Police launch campaign to prevent spread of dengue and chikungunya

Employees at 345 hotels across Costa Rica are conducting cleaning campaigns in their communities to eliminate potential breeding sites for mosquitoes that transmit the dengue and chikungunya viruses.

The goal of business owners is to assure tourists that Costa Rica is a safe destination by preventing the spread of the viruses in the country.

Last month, staff at 20 hotels began identifying and eliminating stagnant water sites.  The effort was then extended to all associate members of the Costa Rican Chamber of Hotels (CCH). Employees at several restaurants also launched cleaning campaigns in their communities, chamber president Gustavo Araya said on Wednesday.

To help with the effort, Traffic Police officers and Health Ministry officials began offering training. They also facilitated the fumigation of parking lots at the Public Works and Transport Ministry, where more than 27,000 impounded vehicles could become potential mosquito breeding sites.

“Continuing these efforts throughout the year is the only way to succeed in the fight against mosquito-borne diseases,” Health Ministry official Roberto Castro said. “Contributions by the CCH and the Traffic Police are crucial.”

The ministry’s latest report, which extends through Sept. 6, shows 16 confirmed cases of chikungunya in Costa Rica. Fifteen of those patients contracted the virus while traveling in the Dominican Republic. One patient contracted chikungunya while in Haiti.

The ministry’s dengue report shows positive news, with a total of 7,561 cases across the country. That’s an impressive 79 percent drop in the number of cases from the same period last year.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito is a carrier of both dengue and chikungunya. The Aedes albopictus mosquito also spreads chikungunya.

Both viruses cause fever, severe muscle and joint pain, headaches, nausea, fatigue and rashes. Chikugunya symptoms are more aggressive than dengue symptoms and can persist for up to 10 months.

Recommended: Number of chikungunya cases in El Salvador tops 16,000

Contact L. Arias at larias@ticotimes.net

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