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Dengue Fever Outbreak Strikes Costa Rica

Costa Rica News – Not to put a damper on the current holiday weekend in Costa Rica but a large dengue fever outbreak has hit the country.  Health officials in Costa Rica said an outbreak of dengue fever has sickened 7,000 people, with many cases occurring in some of this Central American country’s most popular tourist areas.

dengue-costa_ricaThe incidence of illness represents a three-fold increase over this time a year ago, according to the medical director of national Social Security office, which has been tracking the outbreak.

Most of the cases have been reported along Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast, an area popular with foreign tourists. Officials said about 2,500 cases of dengue have been reported there — eight times more than last year.

Health authorities said they have been baffled by this recent outbreak, which has occurred despite a spate of unusually dry weather. The mosquitoes which carry dengue usually proliferate in times of heavy rain.

What to Know About Dengue Fever:

Symptoms, which usually begin four to six days after infection and last for up to 10 days, may include:

  • Sudden, high fever
  • Severe headaches
  • Pain behind the eyes
  • Severe joint and muscle pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Skin rash, which appears three to four days after the onset of fever
  • Mild bleeding (such a nose bleed, bleeding gums, or easy bruising)

Sometimes symptoms are mild and can be mistaken for those of the flu or another viral infection.

Dengue affects between 50 and 100 million people in the tropics and subtropics each year, resulting in fever, muscle and joint ache.

The disease is caused by four strains of virus that are spread by the mosquito Aedes aegypti. There is no vaccine, so medical authorities in the region have been trying to stamp it out by focusing on mosquito control.

The illness can be fatal, developing into hemorrhagic fever which can lead to shock and internal bleeding.

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