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Dengue Forces State of Emergency in Costa Rica

As of yesterday, Costa Rica is in a state of emergency as dengue fever cases spread nationwide.  There have been over 10,000 cases by August this year whereas for the entire year of 2006 there were only 11,000 cases.   The final factor in pushing the state of emergency was recently when dengue took the life of an eight month baby. 

The other, more dangerous form of the fever, dengue hemorrhagic (DHF), has affected 169 individuals by August while last year there was a grand total of 72 cases reported. 

The fact that the number of cases has grown almost exponentially since last year has raised concern all over the country.  In fact, $480,000 (US) has been allotted for preventative efforts against the disease.  This money will go towards garbage and urban waste treatment, insecticide spray for residential areas, and ways to clean up sewers.  In addition, more medical workers are going to be sent to residential areas and experts will head to Limon, the region that has seen 35% of the dengue cases this year.

Since there is no vaccine against this disease, people must take preventative measures.  One way to do this is to use insect repellent with at least 23% DEET.  Another way to protect yourself is to avoid being outside during the mosquitoes feeding hours, which are around dawn and dusk.  In addition, stay out of the shade, because they do not bite in full sunlight. 

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Written by alanp

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