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Dengue Warning for CR; Protecting Yourself

Costa Rica News – Dengue fever is a flu-like virus that’s spread through mosquito bites This year in Costa Rica there was been an epidemic of cases.  Costa Rica declared a health alert today due to a dengue fever outbreak which has claimed three lives and infected about 12,000 people so far this year.

dengue fever outbreak costa rica 1Health Minister Daisy Corrales said the number of people infected this year in Costa Rica was four times worse than that of 2012.

Corrales warned that there are three dengue strains in circulation heading into the rainy season which has just begun in Costa Rica. This is a prime time for the breeding of mosquitoes that transmit the disease.

The worst outbreaks of the disease have been in towns on the Pacific coast, popular with sun-and-sand vacationers.

In Parrita for example, there have been 525 infections in the past five weeks.

Dengue Fever Symptoms

Dengue symptoms include fever, severe headache, eye pain, joint or muscle pain and rash. There is no vaccine. Many cases are mild, but the severe form of the disease, dengue hemorrhagic fever, can be fatal. Children, young adults and people who have had dengue fever before are more at risk of getting dengue hemorrhagic fever.

If any of the following symptoms occur, you should seek medical care immediately:

  • abdominal pain or tenderness
  • persistent vomiting
  • abnormal bleeding
  • extreme fatigue or restlessness

How To Protect Yourself

  • Stay in hotels that are well screened or air-conditioned. If screens are inadequate, ask for mosquito netting for your bed.
  • Use insect repellent when you’re outside or in poorly screened buildings. If you’re using sunscreen, apply that before the repellent. Use repellent that contains DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Spray it on your clothing for greater protection.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors.
  • Items that collect rainwater or to store water (for example, plastic containers, buckets, or used automobile tires) should be covered or properly discarded. Pet and animal watering containers and vases with fresh flowers should be emptied and cleaned (to remove eggs) at least once a week. This will eliminate the mosquito eggs and larvae and reduce the number of mosquitoes present in these areas. 

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